Recently in a blog entitled “Tennessee: America’s electric car mecca?”, on Mother Nature Network, Jim Motavalli stated that Tennessee “gets it when it comes to electric vehicle and green technology in general.”
ECOtality North America, project manager for The EV Project, is overseeing the rollout of the largest deployment of EV infrastructure ever in the United States. The project encompasses 16 cities in Tennessee, Texas, Arizona, California, Washington, and Oregon, as well as the District of Columbia, and will install more than 15,000 charging stations.
The EV Project plans to deploy approximately 2,500 residential, commercial and DC fast charging stations, which will provide nearly 425 miles of connected EV infrastructure in Tennessee. Working closely with the TVA, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and other regional stakeholders, ECOtality applied its innovative EV Micro-Climate™ process to Tennessee to determine the most effective way to install a rich charging station infrastructure that would encourage consumer EV adoption in Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga, as well as along the three transportation corridors linking them.
An estimated 350 charging stations are scheduled to be built within a 25 mile radius in the Knoxville area; ten will be solar powered. These charging stations will collect data from the electric vehicles that ECOtality will use to help develop a workable nationwide infrastructure necessary to support millions of electric cars.
“The operational and commercial lessons we learn in Tennessee will be applied to electric vehicle charging networks nationwide,” said Don Karner, President of ECOtality North America. “By serving as a living laboratory, Tennessee will provide invaluable information that will prove essential to encouraging the mass consumer adoption of electric vehicles.”
Just in case you missed it, in May 2010, Nissan broke ground on their 1.3 million square foot lithium-ion battery plant in Smyrna, which will supply batteries for the Nissan LEAF electric car. The LEAF will also be produced in Smyrna, in what’s been described as America’s largest auto plant under one roof. The plant should be operational in 2012. Until then, the LEAF and its associated lithium-ion battery are being manufactured in Japan.
“Tennessee is the first state to take the electric vehicle beyond its 100-mile radius. With these plans completed, the state of Tennessee will emerge as a leader in EV adoption, and serve as a critical blueprint for how best to connect major population areas with EV infrastructure,” said Jonathan Read, CEO of ECOtality, Inc
Drivers of the Nissan LEAF and the Chevrolet Volt, who qualify to participate in The EV Project, will be provided with a residential charger, and most if not all of the costs of installation will be paid for by The EV Project. Governor Phil Bredesen just announced that the first 1,000 customers buying a Nissan LEAF in Tennessee will get a $2,500 cash rebate. This rebate will go to the Nissan dealers, who will lower the price on the LEAFs. Add the $2,500 subsidy to the $7,500 federal tax credit (everyone gets that) and a LEAF is yours for just $22,780 (compared to the $32,780 sticker).
Tennessee is definitely becoming a “major playa” in the green technology movement. They don’t call us the volunteer state for nothing.
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