Drive Electric Tennessee outlines plan for Tennessee’s electric vehicle future in statewide Electric Vehicle Roadmap

Drive Electric Tennessee, a statewide electric vehicle (EV) consortium, hopes to make the Tennessee Valley a leader in EV transportation in the Southeast over the next decade.

Throughout 2018, state agencies, universities, utilities, advocacy groups, electric vehicle OEMs, and other stakeholders collaborated to define their outlook for Tennessee’s clean transportation sector. In January 2019, Drive Electric Tennessee released the culmination of its hard work, A Roadmap for Electric Vehicles in Tennessee.

The Roadmap offers guiding principles, goals, opportunity areas, and approaches to get more EVs on the road during the next 10 years. According to the report, Drive Electric Tennessee aspires to significantly increase EV adoption from less than 5,000 EVs in 2017 to 200,000 by 2028.

Guiding principles behind the Roadmap focus on economic development, social benefits, cost-effectiveness, and technology innovation. The report states EV adoption in the state will promote local and regional economic development, reduce environment impacts, foster entrepreneurship and technical innovation, and prepare for a more connected, autonomous transportation sector in near the future.

The Roadmap identifies four key opportunity areas to address major EV market gaps in the state. Drive Electric Tennessee will meet each goal through the implementation of 45 projects and 15 initiatives over the next decade. Each opportunity area is tied to high-level, clean transportation goals for Tennessee. These four opportunity areas and goals are:

  1. Driving Charging Infrastructure Availability: Develop a charging infrastructure that enables Tennessee residents to (1) drive and charge an EV in their daily lives (home, work, and public charging) or (2) access electric public transit options.
  2. Driving Awareness: Increase awareness and first-hand experience of the benefits of driving an EV such that the majority of vehicle owners are aware of EVs when they begin their next purchasing process.
  3. Driving Innovative and Supportive Policies: Create consistent, innovative, and supportive policies across Tennessee at the state, county, city, and utility levels, inclusive of incentives, electricity rates, planning standards, and other policies and programs.
  4. Driving EV Availability, Offerings, and Innovation: Make EV models viable, accessible, and comparable purchasing alternatives to traditional vehicles.

At TAEBC, we believe advanced energy solutions, such as clean transportation, lead to state job creation and economic development. This Roadmap emphasizes the importance of stakeholders coming together to help Tennessee become a leader in EV adoption in the next few years.

As our state leads the country in employment for automobile and vehicle component manufacturing, we already have the potential to become an integral force in this bright future of the transportation sector.

This potential turned into a reality in mid-January, when Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam announced that Volkswagen will build their first EV manufacturing facility in the country in Chattanooga.

The project will create 1,000 new jobs in Hamilton county and serves as an $800 million investment from Volkswagen. Remarking on this deal, Rolfe told The Times Press Press that he intends for Tennessee to be number one in the country for EV manufacturing.

Both the announcement and Drive Electric Tennessee’s report demonstrates how Tennessee is turning stakeholder interest in sustainable transportation solutions into an economic reality to benefit all Tennesseans.

Here’s how Tennessee plans to spend $45.8 million from the VW settlement

(Originally published: The Tennessean)

Tennessee environmental officials released a plan that outlines how the state will spend $45.8 million from the Volkswagen diesel settlement.

The plan targets emissions from school buses, city buses, freight trucks and some other vehicles. Also, it invests in electric vehicle charging stations.

Diesel engines emit relatively large amounts of nitrogen oxides, which contribute to smog, and fine particulate matter harmful to human health. By expanding the electric vehicle charging network, the state also hopes to spur growth in the auto manufacturing industry.

The Volkswagen funding in Tennessee will be available for replacing older diesel engines with alternate fuel engines running on natural gas, propane, electricity, or diesel-electric hybrid. Also, recipients could replace older diesel vehicles and equipment.

“The goal of this plan is to reduce air pollutants that negatively impact our environment and public health,” Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Shari Meghreblian said in a statement. “We look forward to supporting projects in our state that will ultimately lead to an enhanced quality of life for Tennesseans.”

Read more here.

Deadline to submit comments for State of Tennessee’s Proposed Beneficiary Mitigation Plan

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has released for public comment the State of Tennessee’s Proposed Beneficiary Mitigation Plan (proposed BMP) for purposes of implementing the State’s initial allocation under the Volkswagen Diesel Settlement (VW Settlement) Environmental Mitigation Trust (EMT). The proposed BMP is intended to provide the public with insight into the State’s plan for use of the mitigation funds. Specifically, the proposed BMP outlines the Eligible Mitigation Actions (EMAs) or project categories that the State proposes to fund from the State’s initial EMT allocation of $45,759,914.40.

To access the proposed BMP, click here: State of Tennessee’s Proposed Beneficiary Mitigation Plan. Additionally, TDEC has recorded a presentation that addresses the various sections of the State’s proposed BMP. A copy of the presentation slide deck may be accessed here.

The State’s proposed BMP has been developed in accordance with the terms of the Environmental Mitigation Trust for State Beneficiaries (“State Trust Agreement“). This proposed BMP is not a solicitation for projects. As such, this proposed BMP includes limited detail on the application or project selection processes. Such information will be provided on the TDEC Webpage after the BMP has been finalized.

The public is encouraged to review the proposed BMP and submit comments via the public comment form below or via email to TDEC.OEP@tn.gov. The public comment period will remain open for thirty (30) days following the date of the release of the proposed BMP. TDEC will accept comments through 5:00 p.m. CST on August 17, 2018. All comments and input received will be reviewed and considered by TDEC personnel. The BMP will then be finalized, submitted to the Trustee, and released to the public.

Link to public comment form.

Volkswagen outlines plan for electric future at LA Auto Show

(Note: This article was originally published at The News Wheel.)

Volkswagen unveiled the I.D. concept family, a new line of electric vehicles, at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show and said it hopes to start producing EVs in the United States by 2023, pointing to its Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant as the location where it might happen.

In October, the German automaker’s board approved a €34 billion investment in electric mobility and autonomous driving capabilities over the next five years. Its goal is to make a million electric cars a year by 2025 and become the world’s largest electric auto manufacturer.

Starting with Volvo earlier this year (if we count out Tesla), several other brands have recently announced their commitment to an electrified future of mobility. At the LA Auto Show, Volkswagen introduced the new I.D. line of electric vehicles, including the Crozz and the Buzz, the former and SUV and the latter a redesign of the automaker’s famous 1960s minibus.

Read the full story here.

Volkswagen Diesel Settlement Public Information Session

In 2015, Volkswagen (VW) publicly admitted that it had secretly and deliberately installed a defeat device—software designed to cheat emissions tests and deceive federal and state regulators—in approximately 590,000 model year 2009 to 2016 motor vehicles containing 2.0 and 3.0 liter diesel engines. The U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint against VW, alleging that the company had violated the federal Clean Air Act.

$2.9 billion in settlement funds from the resulting 2.0 and 3.0 liter partial settlements with the federal government will be placed into an Environmental Mitigation Trust, which will fund environmental mitigation projects that reduce NOx emissions. Trust funds will be allocated among beneficiaries (states, certain territories, and tribes) based on the number of impacted VW vehicles in their jurisdictions.

Tennessee’s initial, combined allocation under the approved 2.0 and 3.0 liter partial settlements is $45,759,914.40. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has been identified by Governor Bill Haslam as the Lead Agency for purposes of administering Tennessee’s trust allocation.

TDEC’s Office of Energy Programs (OEP) is planning to hold a VW Diesel Settlement public information session in Memphis. This meeting will provide an overview of the VW Diesel Settlement, the Environmental Mitigation Trust, TDEC’s process for developing a proposed Beneficiary Mitigation Plan for Tennessee, and an overview of the types of eligible mitigation actions that can be funded by Tennessee’s Environmental Mitigation Trust allocation.

This public information session will be free and open to the public. Please note that registration is required due to space restrictions. Should there be additional demand and interest, TDEC OEP will coordinate and host additional meetings in other locations throughout the State.

  • November 17, 1:30 pm – 3pm Central-Memphis Public Library, 3030 Poplar Ave., Memphis, TN: Register here.

For additional information on the Volkswagen Diesel Settlement in Tennessee, please visit TDEC OEP’s website. OEP also advises interested parties to subscribe to its VW Settlement email list. If you have questions, please contact Alexa Voytek at Alexa.Voytek@tn.gov or 615-532-0238