Source: TVA | December 15, 2020 – but formally announced on February 2, 2020
Futuristic movies depicted flying cars in the 2020’s, and while it still seems like science fiction, we are entering a new era of providing access to innovative vehicles powered by electricity.
EVs provide significant economic and environmental benefits for the communities where they are widely adopted. “While regions in the western and northeastern United States have led the way in the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), market barriers have prevented the widespread adoption in the Tennessee Valley,” said Joe Hoagland, Vice President of Innovation and Research at TVA.
“We want the people and communities of the Valley to enjoy the benefits of electrifying transportation,” said Hoagland. “That is why TVA is working with partners to launch the Electric Vehicle Initiative.”
TVA’s EV Initiative, built on partnerships with local power companies and other organizations, anticipates growing the number of EVs across its seven-state service area from approximately 14,000 today to over 200,000 by 2028. In addition to significantly reduced carbon emissions, the average EV driver can save up to $1,000 in fuel costs every year. How much could you save?
“The electrification of transportation can be as transformative to this region as TVA’s electrification of the Valley was back in the 1930s.”
Lyash said EVs fit within TVA’s long-standing mission of service, and widespread adoption will benefit the people of the Valley in several important ways.
“Transportation is the largest source of carbon emissions, so electrification of transportation is the best opportunity to reduce carbon in our region,” Lyash said. “And more EVs on the road will create high-paying jobs for the area since three prominent auto manufacturers are producing EVs here.”
TVA’s EV Initiative is leveraging over a decade of research and formation of stakeholder groups like Drive Electric TN to determine the best path to enable EV adoption in the region. Partnerships are being forged with local power companies, automakers, state agencies and other groups from across the region.
TVA is making investments and coordinating partner funding that could bring up to $40 million in programs to support EV adoption in the next five years.
“We are making the investment in EVs today so drivers, businesses and communities can reap the benefits tomorrow,” said Hoagland. “We recognized that, as public power providers, TVA and local power company partners are uniquely positioned to lead the effort to increase EV adoption by bringing together the right organizations to address the barriers preventing more people from choosing EVs.”
“With production of the all-electric ID.4 SUV scheduled to begin here in 2022, we are committed to working with TVA to make sure Tennessee is at the forefront of the EV evolution.”
“The state of Tennessee’s support has been critical as Volkswagen builds its North American hub for EV production in Chattanooga,” said Matt Renna, Vice President of Electric Mobility, Volkswagen of America. “With production of the all-electric ID.4 SUV scheduled to begin here in 2022, we are committed to working with TVA to make sure Tennessee is at the forefront of the EV revolution.”
Benefits of EVs
The Tennessee Valley is home to three auto manufacturing sites that currently produce or have plans to produce EVs: General Motors, Nissan and Volkswagen. As EV sales increase, there will be more job opportunities and resulting economic expansion and investment. Using locally-generated electricity also benefits the local economy by keeping refueling dollars in the Valley.
Other benefits of EVs:
- Fun and powerful to drive
- Simple and lower cost to operate and maintain
- Lower refueling costs using low-cost home charging
- Reduced carbon and other emissions
- Protection from fuel price spikes or supply disruptions
“Electric vehicles provide utilities with an exciting opportunity to address multiple emerging issues. Vehicle electrification provides an opportunity for local power companies and TVA to keep rates low while reducing emissions in our communities that provide long-term and wide-ranging benefits on health and the environment,” said Wes Kelley, President and CEO, Huntsville Utilities. “We are excited to partner with TVA on this EV journey and continue to make the Tennessee Valley a center for EV innovation.”
With 200,000 EVs on the road by 2028, we can reduce carbon emissions by almost 1 million metric tons per year, which is the equivalent of the carbon captured by 1 million acres of US forests in one year.
EV drivers will benefit directly from a total fuel savings of $200 million per year and the local community benefits from fuel dollars that remain in the region.
“Growing EV use by over 1,300% in the next eight years is not feasible for TVA or any organization acting alone,” said Doug Perry, Senior Vice President of Commercial Energy Solutions. “TVA plans to reach this goal through key partnerships and innovative solutions that remove the current barriers preventing consumers from buying EVs.”
“We want to put everyone in an EV and truly value strong and meaningful partnerships like the one we have with the Tennessee Valley Authority, supporting greater adoption of EVs throughout their seven-state service region through their EV Initiative.”
“General Motors is on its way to an all-electric future. We’re investing $27 billion in EV and AV programs and will bring 30 new vehicles to market by 2025,” said General Motors Lead Architect for EV Charging, Alex Keros. “We want to put everyone in an EV and truly value strong and meaningful partnerships like the one we have with the Tennessee Valley Authority, supporting greater adoption of EVs throughout their seven-state service region and EV initiative.”
The EV-specific policies and rates adopted by the TVA Board in November support the development of a public charging network. These EV policies work hand in hand with investments that Valley states are making in EV programs.
TVA is also actively engaging with automakers, cities, transit agencies, rideshare companies and large fleet operators from across the region to bring more EVs and investments to the Valley. TVA convened the EV Innovation Summit with leaders in transportation, local government and local power companies from the region’s largest metropolitan areas. These groups shared the transformation of public transportation and city fleets through electrification and examined innovative solutions to increase the use of EVs.
“We are pleased TVA is pledging its support for electric transportation,” said Jonathan Levenshus, Director of Federal Campaigns at the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. “It’s vital for the electric utility sector to invest in EV programs, so TVA’s commitment is an important first step to moving EVs into the fast lane of adoption – especially in a region that’s quickly becoming an important electric vehicle manufacturing hub.”
To increase consumer awareness about EVs, TVA launched TVA.com/ev to provide unbiased resources and decision tools for potential buyers. TVA also established the EV Think Tank to foster trusted partnerships between EV advocates and tackle issues that prevent EV use. This working group includes members from Drive Electric TN, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Tesla Tennessee Chapter, Sierra Club, rideshare companies, EV dealers and individual EV owners.
“In the coming months, we will be announcing specific partnership details in these efforts and additional programs to address the top barriers to EV adoption,” said Perry. “This EV initiative will require work, investments and innovation for years to come. As part of our mission of service, TVA is committed for the long haul. Now is the time to get started so Valley communities can enjoy the economic and environmental benefits of EVs tomorrow and in future generations.”