Fossil Fuel Independence, Driving Electric in Tennessee

Guest Blog | July 4, 2011 | Energy Policy

Nissan LeafWant to buy an electric vehicle (EV) or host a charging station for EVs at your business in Tennessee? Now is your chance to be a part of history. As you may have heard, Tennessee is one of five states, and the only state in the Southeast, participating in ECOtality’s Electric Vehicle (EV) project. The project is a massive effort to provide the United States with the infrastructure necessary to prepare for the charging needs of electric vehicles.

The project is funded by Department of Energy grants and partner matches. It was launched in October of 2009 and is scheduled to last approximately three years. The EV project aims to deploy 14,000 EV chargers in 18 major cities in California, Washington, Arizona, Texas, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia.

In Tennessee, the project is focused on the cities of Nashville, Knoxville, Memphis, and Chattanooga. The project plans to deploy approximately 2,500 residential, commercial, and Blink DC fast charging stations in Tennessee, providing close to 425 miles of connected EV infrastructure. The layout of the charging infrastructure is designed to encourage consumer adoption of electric and provide transportation corridors between them to allow the electric vehicle to travel beyond its charge radius.

Tennessee has the opportunity to become a model for EV adoption for communities throughout the nation. Especially with the construction of the new Nissan electric car factory in Smyrna, TN, the state is perfectly positioned to lead the way in electric vehicle adoption and infrastructure.

Misconceptions about EVs have made many communities hesitant to support EV infrastructure or to purchase electric vehicles, despite their numerous advantages. The Nissan LEAF gets the equivalent of 99 miles per gallon and has an annual fuel cost of only $561. The national average on fuel cost is about $2200. Driving an electric car protects drivers from the fluctuations and rising prices of the oil market and helps the US move towards energy independence. Battery vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions, helping keep our air safer for our lungs and our planet. Also, the Nissan LEAF has a range of 73 miles and the Chevy Volt has an electric range of 35 miles and a total range of 379 miles. According to the US Department of Transportation, most drivers drive less than 30 miles per day, meaning drivers would easily be able to cover their daily driving distances on a single charge. The charging infrastructure being installed by The EV Project will make it even more convenient to drive electric. Chevrolet and Nissan North America are partners in the EV project. The Chevy Volt, a plug-in hybrid, and the Nissan LEAF, a battery electric vehicle, are two of the most prevalent and affordable plug-in electric vehicles commercially available in the US today. Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF drivers who qualify to participate in the EV project will receive a free home charger in exchange for allowing the EV project to collect data from the vehicle and the charger. The information collected from participants will be analyzed to characterize EV use in varied conditions and evaluate effective charging infrastructure. The ultimate goal of the project is to take lessons from the deployment of the first 8,300 EVs in order to enable a streamlined deployment of the next 5 million in the US. Another partner in the program is the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). TVA key player in helping evaluate and understand the impacts of charging behavior and better preparing the grid for electric vehicles.

Blink Charging StationIf you are interested in staying up-to-date on the EV project, visit The EV Project website and join the electronic distribution list. There is still a need for host charging station installation sites, so The EV Project can reach its goal of establishing Tennessee as a leader in EV infrastructure. Nissan is currently accepting reservations for Nissan LEAFs if you wish to participate in the program and Ecotality is looking for host sites for charging stations. Business owners interested in having a charging station installed at their place of business can sign up at The EV Project website. Individuals interested in participating in the program must purchase a Nissan LEAF and register at here. For answers to more questions about electric vehicles or The EV Project, visit .

The post was written by Anne Blair and SACE intern, Claire Pendergrast.

Guest Blog
My Profile