Project to Fund Electric Car-Charging Stations in Tennessee Will Cost $20 Million


Officials with The Tennessee Valley Authority and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation announced Wednesday they will develop more electric car-charging stations in the state, at an anticipated cost of $20 million.

TDEC and TVA officials said in a press release that to get the money they “will leverage various funding sources.”

“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 press release said.

“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 officials, the press release went on to say, are working with local power companies to design a network of fast-charging stations close to major highways and along every 50 miles of Tennessee’s interstates.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, in the same press release, called the investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure “a monumental step forward.”

The Tennessee Star asked Lee’s office on Wednesday what evidence do they have, if any, that enough Tennessee residents are driving or will drive electric vehicles? And will Tennessee have enough of a demand for this kind of infrastructure to justify TDEC’s and the TVA’s investment in them?

No one in Lee’s office returned our request for comment before Wednesday’s stated deadline.

General Motors officials last month announced they would phase out petroleum-powered cars and trucks and sell only vehicles that have zero tailpipe emissions by 2035.

As The Star reported in October, GM officials will invest nearly $2 billion in its Spring Hill manufacturing plant in Maury County to build fully electric vehicles.

In 2013 and 2015, Tennessee Watchdog found that people seldom used taxpayer-funded charging stations in Nashville.

As Watchdog also reported, Tennessee officials in 2015 spent $181,250 to place three charging stations at the Nashville International Airport. In five weeks, 29 cars were charged for a flat fee of $2 each. At that rate, the charging stations would pay for themselves in about 300 years.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected].












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One Thought to “Project to Fund Electric Car-Charging Stations in Tennessee Will Cost $20 Million”

  1. JRin

    A Cracker Barrel near me put in a charging station for two cars. It sat there for YEARS. No one used it. It was finally taken away, because Cracker Barrel needed the room for more parking spaces.