Memphis included in electric vehicle project
By Daniel Connolly, Wayne Risher
Posted February 22, 2011 at 11:43 a.m.
Officials announced today that Memphis will be included in the EV Project, which will establish a network of commercial and residential vehicle charging stations in the state to prepare for electric vehicles.
Today’s announcement at The Peabody follows reports that West Tennessee had been cut out of the demonstration project. It’s unclear what changed, but a conference to encourage local businesses to have charging stations installed at their sites was ongoing this morning.
“There’s no reason why Memphis cannot lead the way in this effort,” Mayor A C Wharton said to those gathered.
Jerry Collins Jr., head of Memphis Light, Gas and Water, cited this month’s upheaval in the Middle East as an example of why the U.S. needs to reduce its dependence on foreign oil. He said the new Blink charging stations would be installed by September of this year.
The EV Project, managed by ECOtality, is working on establishing a network of 15,000 commercial and residential vehicle charging stations in 17 cities in six states. Blink is a trademarked brand of charging stations.
Memphis officials cried foul last year when they learned the project covered Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga, but not West and Northeast Tennessee.
The company on Friday announced informational forums in Memphis today, Knoxville on Thursday, Chattanooga on March 22, and Nashville on March 25.
Project partners include Nissan North America, which is building the plug-in electric Leaf at its Smyrna plant, the state of Tennessee, TVA and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The Department of Energy has provided $114.8 million in federal stimulus grants for the project, and private investment is expected to bring the total to $230 million.