Charging stations to line 'EV freeway' in Tennessee

Tennessee Valley Authority and Ecotality tout blueprint to connect three cities covering about 425 miles of road with public and home charging stations.

The circles show where EV charging stations will be installed. A total of about 2,500 home and public charging spots will be installed by 2011.
The circles show where EV charging stations will be installed. A total of about 2,500 home and public charging spots will be installed by 2011. Ecotality

Electric vehicle charging stations will connect three cities in Tennessee, in a project that backers says bridges the 100-mile limit of electric cars.

The Tennessee Valley Authority on Wednesday is hosting a one-day conference to unveil a "blueprint" for the charging infrastructure needed to support electric transportation for consumers.

Tennessee is one of seven regions in the U.S. participating in the EV project, which is managed by electric vehicle charge company Ecotality. The $230 million project, partially funded with $114.8 million in Department of Energy grants, intends to bring 15,000 Internet-connected charging stations to 16 cities by next summer.

In Tennessee, the project will seek to connect three cities--Nashville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville--by covering about 425 miles with home and public charging stations, including those on the highway corridors between the cities. The plans call for installing 425 charge points, including fast DC charging stations. Ecotality said that its fastest charging points can provide a "safe and meaningful charge" in 15 minutes.

Ecotality is now working with local groups, the TVA, the Electric Power Research Institute, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to find the best locations to place charging stations. The project will gather information on charging station use to better understand how consumers use electricity as fuel.

"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, in a statement.

EV drivers will have access to a Web portal which will allow them to view the charge state of their car's battery, see weekly usage, and schedule charging to take advantage of off-peak rates. Drivers can also get a map of available charging stations from the car and reserve a spot.

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