Ruby Falls, Rock City and the Incline will be the initial sites in the Chattanooga area to offer charging stations to owners of electric vehicles through the national EV Project.
The announcement of these commitments was made at a meeting of the Chattanooga Area Advisory Board for the EV Project at EPB. There will be 37 such Blink smart charging stations deployed in the metropolitan area at publicly accessible sites designated through the “EV Micro-Climate process.”
Coinciding with new vehicle launches of the all-electric Nissan LEAF and the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt in 2010-11, additional charging stations will be opened in the area over the next twelve months. These sites may include retail centers, parking garages and lots, grocery stores, cinemas, medical centers, parks and sports venues, the airport, schools and major employers.
“How exciting it is that three highly visited Chattanooga attractions will have charging stations,” said Hugh Morrow, president of Ruby Falls. “This service will make it even more convenient for local and visiting drivers who invest in electric vehicle technology to charge locally.”
“Rock City Gardens is proud to be a partner in developing electric vehicle infrastructure in our community,” said Andrew Kean, president and COO of See Rock City, Inc. “This investment will continue to position our community as a leader in sustainable development.”
Tom Dugan, executive director of the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA), said, “Offering vehicle charging at the St. Elmo parking lot is a natural next step. In one place, our visitors will experience more than a century of experience with electric transportation.”
The Incline is owned and managed by CARTA, an independent agency of the city of Chattanooga.
These early private- and public-sector commitments are consistent with the city’s goals under its approved Climate Action Plan -- to reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuels in local transportation that contribute to greenhouse gases.
Chattanooga is among 16 major metropolitan areas included in the EV Project, which will ultimately install more than 15,000 home and commercial charging stations in Tennessee, five other states and Washington, D.C. Over the course of the three-year study, the EV Project will collect data on how these next-generation vehicles, batteries and chargers perform in various climates and geographies, evaluate the charging infrastructure itself and conduct trials of various electricity payment models. (www.theevproject.com)
ECOtality, Inc., headquartered in San Francisco, is the lead grantee and project manager for the EV Project, established last year with a grant of $98.8 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The grant was recently expanded by another $15 million of ARRA funds from the DOE. The federal grants are matched by private investment, bringing the total value of the project to approximately $230 million.
The Chattanooga Area Advisory Board consists of CARTA, EPB, the city of Chattanooga Mayor’s Office, Office of Sustainability and Green Committee, Hamilton County, the Regional Planning Agency, Planning and Design Studio and the Electric Power Research Institute.
The State Advisory Board consists of the State of Tennessee, Department of Commerce and Insurance, Department of Economic and Community Development, Department of Tourist Development, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Nissan, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association. The state of Tennessee’s Department of Tourist Development and the Tennessee Hospitality Association are coordinating a destinations focus group to bring electric vehicle charging to many other attractions, as well as leading hotels and restaurants.