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TN Corridor Fast Charging Network

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) are partnering to develop a statewide electric vehicle (EV) fast charging network to power the growth of EVs across Tennessee and reduce barriers to transportation electrification. Specifically, the two have signed an agreement to collaborate and fund a network of fast charging stations every 50 miles along Tennessee’s interstates and major highways. This initiative will add approximately 50 new charging locations, tripling the existing fast charging network. For reference, as of February 2021, there are only 24 fast charging locations currently operating in Tennessee that are open to all consumers and support both charging standards common to EVs.

TDEC and TVA will leverage various funding sources to support the development of the fast charging network with an anticipated project cost of $20 million. This partnership advances the State’s goal of establishing a statewide corridor fast-charging network that improves transportation efficiency, reduces vehicle emissions, promotes EV adoption, and strengthens the resiliency of our transportation network. TDEC has committed 15%, the maximum allowable, of the State’s Volkswagen Diesel Settlement Environmental Mitigation Trust allocation to fund light-duty EV charging infrastructure. Approximately $5 million from this fund is expected to be allocated to fast charging infrastructure along corridors. The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) intends to provide TDEC with an additional $7 million in federal Highway Infrastructure Program (HIP) funds to expand fast-charging electric vehicle infrastructure along federally-designated Alternative Fuel Corridors in Tennessee. The remainder of the project will be funded by TVA, other program partners, and program participant cost share.

On April 7, TVA released a Request for Information (RFI) to establish minimum technical specifications for equipment and operations under forthcoming EV fast charging funding solicitations. They will use responses to this RFI to create a list of qualified providers offering EV fast charging supply equipment; operating network back-end options; and related program support services. Future grantees will be able to reference this list of qualified providers when building an EV fast charging network along major travel corridors over the next several years. All responses to this RFI should be submitted via email to David N. Bratcher at dnbratcher@tva.gov no later than May 7 at 5:00 PM Eastern time.

As the development of a statewide EV fast charging network is a joint effort between TVA and TDEC, responses to this RFI will also inform a resulting specification for TDEC's future fast charging funding solicitations, to be administered under the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Light Duty Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment category. Forthcoming funding solicitations from both TVA and TDEC will establish additional criteria for determining eligible applicants, which may include TVA’s Local Power Companies, other local utilities, municipalities, and/or third parties. Grantees will ultimately be responsible for the purchase, installation, operation, and maintenance of this charging network.

The project reflects recommendations outlined in the Tennessee Statewide EV Charging Infrastructure Needs Assessment, conducted in 2019 by Drive Electric Tennessee, a consortium that includes TDEC, TVA, and TDOT. The agreement will support Drive Electric Tennessee’s goal of having 200,000 light-duty EVs registered in Tennessee by 2028. As of December 2020, 11,034 light-duty EVs were registered in Tennessee.

To learn more about this partnership, visit www.tva.com/ev and www.tn.gov/EVFastCharge. Additional information on transportation electrification in Tennessee is available here.
 

Corridor Charging Network

Throughout 2018, a core team of stakeholders—including State agencies (TDEC and TDOT), electric utilities (TVA and others), local governments, universities, electric vehicle manufacturers, businesses, and advocacy groups— worked together to develop a shared vision for electric transportation in the state of Tennessee. Together, these stakeholders comprise Drive Electric Tennessee (DET), whose goal is to increase EV adoption in Tennessee from approximately 11,000 EVs in 2020 to 200,000 vehicles by 2028.

In January 2019, DET released the first edition of its Electric Vehicle Roadmap, which identifies “Opportunity Areas” that will increase electric vehicle adoption across multiple Tennessee use cases and sectors. Three Opportunity Area committees have since been formed to address various projects and initiatives highlighted in the Roadmap: Charging Infrastructure Availability, Policies and Programs, and Awareness. (A fourth Opportunity Area, Electric Vehicle Availability and Offerings, is expected to launch by 2022.)

Following the release of the Roadmap, DET’s Charging Infrastructure Availability committee conducted a Statewide EV Charging Infrastructure Needs Assessment to evaluate the condition of Tennessee’s current EV charging infrastructure and to identify charging needs and potential geographic locations to support the adoption of 200,000 EVs in Tennessee by 2028.

The Needs Assessment concluded that additional EV charging infrastructure was needed on highway corridors to relieve range anxiety and to connect rural and urban areas; highway corridor charging was identified as the best candidate for public investment, whereas other EV charging use cases (e.g., community charging, workplace charging, residential or multi-unit dwelling charging) were identified as good candidates for private or public-private investment based on market attractiveness and anticipated utilization.

To support the goal of establishing a statewide corridor fast charging network that improves transportation efficiency, reduces vehicle emissions, drives EV adoption, strengthens the resiliency of the transportation sector, and connects both rural and urban areas in Tennessee, TDEC Office of Energy Programs (OEP) identified key primary (interstates, shown in green) and secondary corridors (select U.S. and State highways, shown in blue) for EV charging infrastructure development within an Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Opportunity Map.1secondary companion map highlights existing EV fast chargers (direct current fast chargers or DCFC) along the selected corridors. Each location shown on the existing infrastructure map includes at least one non-proprietary charger, with both J1772 combo (CCS) and CHAdeMO connectors available (these connectors support all EVs except Teslas, which use a proprietary plug type).

Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Opportunity Maps

TennesseeEVChargingOpportunityMap_12.20
TennesseeEVChargingOpportunityMap-DCFC_12.20

The secondary corridors selected for inclusion within the Opportunity Map were informed by the results of a series of maps generated during the Statewide EV Charging Needs Assessment, which highlighted potential geographic areas for EV charging infrastructure to support the 200,000 EV deployment goal and took into consideration Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT) data, vehicle miles traveled, EV adoption forecasts, and U.S. Census Bureau data. Secondary EV charging infrastructure corridors suggested by the Statewide EV Charging Needs Assessment were then slightly modified in order to eliminate duplicative, parallel corridors and to prioritize the selection and inclusion of secondary corridors passing through economically Distressed and At-Risk counties in Tennessee.

As many of Tennessee’s State Parks are located in or near rural areas or Distressed or At-Risk counties, TDEC OEP also included the locations of Tennessee State Parks on the Opportunity Map to demonstrate how the electrification of the state’s corridors can connect EV drivers to our state’s natural resources and promote EV tourism in counties that stand to benefit from it most. By prioritizing EV charging infrastructure development on corridors that pass through these counties, TDEC OEP aims to spur economic activity associated with on-route and/or destination charging in these Distressed and rural markets.

TDEC plans to leverage various funding sources to supplement existing EV charging infrastructure along both primary and secondary corridors and will seek to achieve what TDEC will call “Fast 50” designation on such corridors by September 30, 2023. To achieve this designation, (1) the maximum driving distance between charging infrastructure locations is 50 miles, (2) each charging location includes two or more fast chargers capable of at least 50 kW concurrent output power each, and (3) each fast charger has both CCS and CHAdeMO plugs.
 


1Primary corridors are roadways defined as “Interstates” by FHWA in section 3.1.1 of the 2013 “Highway Functional Classification: Concepts, Criteria and Procedures” manual. Secondary corridors are select roadways defined as either “Other Freeways or Expressways” (section 3.1.2) or “Other Principal Arterials” (section 3.1.3) within the FHWA manual.

Drive Electric Tennessee (DET): Throughout 2018, a core team of stakeholders—including State agencies (TDEC and TDOT), electric utilities (TVA and others), cities, universities, EV manufacturers, businesses, and advocacy groups—worked together on the development of a shared vision for electric transportation in the state. Together, these stakeholders comprise DET. In January 2019, DET released the first edition of its Electric Vehicle Roadmap for the state. The Roadmap establishes a goal to increase EV adoption to 200,000 EVs by 2028 and identifies projects and initiatives for local stakeholder implementation that will increase EV adoption across multiple use cases and sectors in Tennessee. The various initiatives fall under four broad opportunity areas: Charging Infrastructure, Consumer Awareness, Vehicle Availability, and Supportive Programs and Policies.

Volkswagen Diesel Settlement Environmental Mitigation Trust (VW Settlement EMT) - Project Solicitations: TDEC is releasing a series of project solicitations under the Volkswagen Diesel Settlement Environmental Mitigation Trust to fund School Buses, Shuttle and Transit Buses, Medium and Large Trucks, and Light Duty EV Supply Equipment across the state. As these project solicitations are announced, this page will be updated to reflect all up-to-date and corresponding information.

The Tennessee Valley Authority’s EV Initiative: TVA launched its own website, tools, and resources to promote EV awareness. Visitors to their new site can become informed about today’s EV models and offerings, compare EV cost of ownership with other non-EVs, find charging stations, and learn about relevant events and resources.

Tennessee Clean Fuels: Tennessee Clean Fuels advances the state's economic, environmental, and energy security by working to advance affordable, domestic transportation fuels, energy efficient mobility systems, and other fuel-saving technologies and practices. The organization is comprised of two U.S. DOE Clean Cities Coalitions—Middle-West Tennessee Clean Fuels and East Tennessee Clean Fuels—and provides fleet consultation, public education events, and alternative fuels technical assistance to promote sustainable transportation across the state.

TVA, TDEC, and TDOT are each committing funding for development of the public fast charging network in Tennessee. We anticipate the total project to cost $20 million.

TDEC has committed the maximum allowable percentage (15%) of the State’s Volkswagen Diesel Settlement Environmental Mitigation Trust allocation to fund light duty electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure; approximately $5 million of this is expected to be allocated toward fast charging infrastructure along corridors.

TDOT intends to provide TDEC with an additional $7 million in federal Highway Infrastructure Program (HIP) funds to expand fast-charging electric vehicle infrastructure along federally-designated Alternative Fuel Corridors in Tennessee.

The remainder of the project will be funded by TVA, other potential program partners, and program participant cost share.  

TDEC is supportive of any fuel or technology that can reduce emissions, improve air quality, and decrease transportation-related energy costs. TDEC’s Office of Energy Programs operates a number of programs focused on promoting and educating Tennesseans about a variety of alternative fuels, advanced vehicle technologies, and sustainable transportation solutions.

With regard to electricity in particular, by engaging in and spearheading transportation electrification efforts, we can improve transportation sector efficiency and resiliency, as well as reduce vehicle emissions.

Greater adoption of EVs, which have zero tailpipe emissions, and which leverage our clean electricity generation mix, can play a significant role in reducing transportation-related emissions and improving air quality.

EVs have the ability to support our communities by providing new economic opportunities, as the use of electricity as a transportation fuel reduces fuel imports, keeps energy dollars in our state, drives local infrastructure investments, and reduces transportation costs for households and businesses.

According to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Tennessee has been Business Facilities magazine’s top state in automotive manufacturing strength for five of the last eight years, thanks in large part to our highly trained workforce. Over 16,000 EVs are produced in Tennessee annually.

Resiliency and emergency preparedness are also important topics to consider, as the resiliency of the transportation sector can be improved through increased deployment of EVs and diversification of available fuels. As battery storage and vehicle-to-grid solutions improve, EVs can be a valuable resource during disaster relief efforts, in part because many EVs can export energy from their batteries to power emergency response systems, such as communication equipment, traffic lights, or fuel pumps. Having the energy stored in a vehicle means it is mobile and can be driven to locations where power is needed. The ability to bring power where it is needed, even on a local scale, can be an invaluable resource during emergencies.

The TDEC/TVA fast charging network builds off of the work of Drive Electric Tennessee, a consortium that includes TDEC, TVA, TDOT and many other key stakeholders such as local governments, automotive manufacturers, advocacy groups, and local power companies (LPCs). In 2019, Drive Electric TN conducted a Statewide EV Charging Infrastructure Needs Assessment, which highlighted the condition of Tennessee’s publicly available EV charging infrastructure and identified geographic areas where new infrastructure should be placed to support a goal of 200,000 light duty EVs in Tennessee by 2028 (as of December 2020, there are 11,034 EVs registered in Tennessee).

Whereas high demand EV charging sites can attract private investment (e.g., retail charging, community charging), the Needs Assessment found that lower demand EV charging sites (e.g., corridor charging, rural charging) are not as appealing for private investors and may require investment from public institutions and/or utilities. The Needs Assessment also concluded that EV charging infrastructure should be prioritized for highway corridors and rural tourism destinations, to relieve range anxiety and to connect rural and urban areas.

TDEC and TVA have been working together to collaboratively plan a statewide EV fast charging network for all Tennesseans. TDEC and TVA will launch closely coordinated, but separate, funding programs to support its development. Related program solicitations will be released in 2021 to identify infrastructure site hosts, owners, and operators. Each project will require a level of cost share commitment by the grantee and/or site host.

Direct current (DC) fast charging supplements home charging while on the road, and the time needed to charge is dependent upon capacity of the charging station and the capabilities of the vehicle. On average, most vehicles will be able to recharge at a DC fast charging station in less than 30 minutes.

Ideal charging sites will be located near prioritized corridor infrastructure gaps and will provide safe and efficient recharging for EV owners. Where possible, these sites will be located near amenities such as retail shopping centers or dining establishments.

TVA is currently partnering with a group of LPCs to design a charging station experience that will appeal to customers.

TVA and TDEC fully support the electrification of all transportation markets including consumer vehicles, commercial fleets, public transit, etc. However, the market barriers to electrifying each segment differ. 

Through the VW Settlement Environmental Mitigation Trust, TDEC has already obligated funding to electrification projects for transit agencies and school buses and is evaluating submissions for medium/heavy duty trucks. 

TVA continues to engage with local governments, transit agencies and large commercial fleets to understand their unique barriers to electrification and how TVA and local power company partners can support these initiatives.     

The first program solicitation to identify infrastructure site hosts, owners, and operators is expected to be released in 2021. TDEC and TVA estimate that fast charging stations will be installed and made available to the public beginning in 2022. The entire project is expected to be completed over the next five years.

Participants of the TDEC and TVA funding programs will be responsible for operating and maintaining the infrastructure. 

Manufacturers of fast charging equipment often provide maintenance services packaged with the equipment sale. 

Yes, TVA is in discussions with state agencies and stakeholders across TVA’s seven-state service area to coordinate the development of a comprehensive public, fast charging network.

The initial focus of this program will be to partner with LPCs to develop charging infrastructure. However, local governments and/or third-party, private developers may also be leveraged to fill in areas needed to complete a comprehensive network. Related program solicitations will be released in 2021 to identify infrastructure site hosts, owners, and operators. Each project will require a level of cost share commitment by the grantee and/or site host.

The TDEC/TVA fast charging network partnership builds off of the work of Drive Electric TN, a consortium that includes TDEC, TVA, TDOT and many other key stakeholders such as local governments, automotive manufacturers, advocacy groups, and LPCs. For more information on Drive Electric TN, visit www.driveelectrictn.org.

In 2019, Drive Electric TN conducted a Statewide EV Charging Infrastructure Needs Assessment, which highlighted the condition of Tennessee’s publicly available EV charging infrastructure and identified geographic areas where new infrastructure should be placed to support a goal of 200,000 light duty EVs in Tennessee by 2028 (as of December 2020, there are 11,034 EVs registered in Tennessee).

Whereas high demand EV charging sites can attract private investment (e.g., retail charging, community charging), the Needs Assessment found that lower demand EV charging sites (e.g., corridor charging, rural charging) are not as appealing for private investors and may require investment from public institutions and/or utilities. The Needs Assessment also concluded that EV charging infrastructure should be prioritized for highway corridors and rural tourism destinations, to relieve range anxiety and to connect rural and urban areas.

For more information on the Tennessee fast charging network, click here. For more information on transportation electrification in Tennessee, click here.

TVA has developed online EV resources for consumers and dealerships, which are available here. LPCs can contact their local TVA Customer Delivery representative for more information.

For more information on Drive Electric TN, click here.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, more than 80% of EV charging occurs at home. In the Tennessee Valley, it costs less than $1 per gasoline gallon equivalent to charge an EV with residential electricity rates. Furthermore, when utilizing convenient and economical home charging for the majority of their traveling needs, consumers can expect to save up to $1,000 per year in fuel and maintenance costs with an EV as compared to a conventional gasoline-powered vehicle.

TVA’s new EV wholesale rate delivers electricity at costs comparable to gasoline. However, the owners of public charging stations will ultimately set the prices for consumers.

TDEC and TVA do not currently plan to offer incentives to individuals to purchase EVs.

Certain vehicles (depending on manufacturer) are eligible for the federal vehicle tax credit. The credit is phased out for a manufacturer’s vehicles when at least 200,000 qualifying vehicles have been sold for use in the U.S. A list of vehicles still eligible for the federal tax credit is maintained both by the U.S. Department of Energy as well as by the IRS.

A federal tax credit of 30% of the cost of installing residential EV charging equipment, which had expired Dec. 31, 2016, has been retroactively extended through Dec. 31, 2020. If you installed charging equipment after Jan. 1, 2017, you are eligible to claim this credit, up to $1,000.

Lastly, for individuals that live in the Knoxville region, the Knoxville Utilities Board is currently offering rebates on home chargers.

As stated by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Tennessee is committed to becoming an EV transportation leader in the Southeast with a goal to become the top state in the country for EV manufacturing.

Nissan has manufactured their all-electric Leaf in Tennessee since 2013. Volkswagen has announced that their first EV to be manufactured in the U.S., the ID.4 SUV, will be made in Chattanooga, TN. General Motors (GM) made the announcement that in Spring Hill, TN, they will be executing a $2 billion expansion of their facilities to manufacture their flagship Cadillac for the EV market. As of Jan. 28, 2021, GM announced that it would phase out petroleum-powered cars and trucks and sell only vehicles that have zero tailpipe emissions by 2035.

Increased EV adoption will keep refueling dollars local, save consumers money and put downward pressure on electricity rates by better utilizing the power system.

EVs will use electricity generated by TVA and distributed by LPCs. However, as public power providers, our business-model supports our mission of service to the people of the Tennessee Valley to make life better through low-cost, reliable energy, economic development and environmental stewardship.

TVA included EV adoption into its various planning scenarios, including the Integrated Resource Plan, to ensure that there will be the capacity to support projected EV adoption without compromising our ability to deliver electricity with 99.999% reliability, which we have maintained since 2000.

Utilizing off-peak charging, widespread adoption of EVs will help maintain low electricity rates through better utilization of the power system. 

Drivers can save up to $1,000 per year in gasoline and maintenance costs by switching to EVs. Find out how much you could save at https://energyright.com/ev/

EV drivers currently pay a $100 registration fee each year to contribute to road tax funds.

The transportation sector is responsible for the largest source of Tennessee’s greenhouse gas emissions. 200,000 EVs on our roads could avoid almost 1 million metric tons of CO2 emissions per year, which is equivalent to the amount of CO2 emissions that would be avoided by preserving more than 1 million acres of forests.