Photo: Nissan LEAF charging at the Freedom Station in Houston, TX.
Photo Credit: eVgo Network
Published February 4, 2021
Tennessee Valley Authority is planning to help jump-start the growing market for electric vehicles by teaming up with EPB in Chattanooga and other businesses and local governments. The new initiative will see electric car charging stations put every fifty miles along Tennessee highways and interstates.
Volkswagen was recently asked to pay a penalty to the state for a diesel emission violation. That penalty, along with $20 million from TVA, EPB, and other power companies will be used to fund the fast-charging stations. The initiative is planning to have fifty stations built across the state, doubling the amount already in operation.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee made an announcement about the new plan on Wednesday.
He said, “This investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure is a monumental step forward, and I’m proud that Tennessee is leading in this important effort. With TVA’s partnership, we will be able to continue our work to protect our environment and improve our transportation infrastructure.”
These extra stations should give motorists who use electric vehicles plenty of places to charge, without having to worry as much about where the next station will be. They will also support Drive Electric Tennessee’s efforts to have at least 200,000 electric vehicles in the state by 2028.
There were right over 11,000 of these types of vehicles registered in Tennessee at the end of last year, but that number is expected to surge upward soon. General Motors and Volkswagen are planning to produce their own electric vehicles in the state, Nissan is continuing to produce Leaf, their electric car.
GM will be spending around $2 billion in order to start making their electric SUV, the Cadillac Lyriq, at their Spring Hill factory. Volkswagen will be adding a battery-powered SUV to their cars produced in Chattanooga, and it will take around $800 million to do so.
The Nissan factory located in Smyrna Tennessee has spent the past ten years putting out their own electric vehicle. With all of them combined, Tennessee is set to become one of the top states when it comes to EV production.
TVA also believes this could lead to more jobs throughout the state, as well as help drivers save money and reduce carbon emissions.
“Innovative partnerships with state agencies like TDEC and our local power companies are essential in developing one of the nation’s most comprehensive EV fast-charging networks, starting in Tennessee,” said Jeff Lyash, the TVA President. “Through this partnership, TVA is positioned to be a national leader in electric transportation by making it easier for local power companies to install fast-charging stations, which make electric vehicles an easy choice for consumers to make.”
Fifteen percent of the penalty that Volkswagen paid in their penalty will be used toward the state’s new charging states. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation said that was the maximum amount they were allowed to put toward the initiative.
TVA and the other partners of the program will be funding the rest of what is needed.
TDEC Commissioner David Salyers said, “This is an exciting development for Tennesseans, and we are pleased to partner with TVA on this project that will benefit rural and urban communities alike.”