The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation announced Wednesday they are partnering to develop a statewide fast EV charging network to power the growth of EVs across Tennessee and reduce barriers to transportation electrification.
TDEC and TVA 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 would add approximately 50 new charging locations, tripling the existing fast charging network. 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.
“This investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure is a monumental step forward, and I’m proud that Tennessee is leading in this important effort,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said. “With TVA’s partnership, we will be able to continue our work to protect our environment and improve our transportation infrastructure.”
“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,” TVA President and CEO Jeff Lyash said. “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.”
A network of public fast EV charging stations will promote EV growth by giving drivers more confidence that they’ll have easy access to refueling while they’re away from home, eliminating so-called “range anxiety” that keeps many consumers from considering EVs a viable option.
TVA, the nation’s largest public power provider, says EV adoption will spur jobs and economic investment in the region, keep refueling dollars in the local economy, reduce the region’s largest source of carbon emissions, and save drivers and fleets money.
“This agreement shows TDEC’s ongoing commitment to a clean environment,” 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.”
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. TDEC has committed 15 percent, the maximum allowable, of the State’s Volkswagen Diesel Settlement Environmental Mitigation 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 remainder of the project will be funded by TVA, other program partners, and program participant cost share.
The agreement 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 the Tennessee Department of Transportation. The agreement will support Drive Electric Tennessee’s goal of 200,000 light-duty EVs in Tennessee by 2028. As of December 2020, 11,034 light-duty EVs were registered in Tennessee.
TVA is working with a group of local power companies to design a charging station experience convenient for drivers, located close to major highways, and featuring access to amenities that drivers expect.
To learn more about this partnership, the Memorandum of Agreement, and Tennessee’s Volkswagen Diesel Settlement Environmental Mitigation Trust Beneficiary Mitigation Plan, visit tva.com/ev and http://tn.gov/EVfastcharge.