The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and five investor-owned utilities (IOUs) on March 2 announced a plan to ensure that electric vehicle drivers have access to a seamless network of charging stations connecting major highway systems from the Atlantic Coast, through the Midwest and South, and into the Gulf and Central Plains regions.
The plan was unveiled by the Electric Highway Coalition, which consists of TVA and the following IOUs: American Electric Power, Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Entergy Corp. and Southern Co.
The plan will enable EV drivers seamless travel across major regions of the country through a network of DC fast chargers for electric vehicles.
The companies are each taking steps to provide EV charging solutions within their service territories. “This represents an unprecedented effort to offer convenient EV charging options across different company territories and allow EV travel without interruption,” TVA noted in a news release.
While many drivers recognize the benefits of driving an EV, such as the ease of low-cost home charging, some are concerned with the availability of charging stations during long road trips.
Sites along major highway routes with easy highway access and amenities for travelers are being considered as coalition members work to determine final charging station locations.
Charging stations will provide DC fast chargers that are capable of getting drivers back on the road in approximately 20-30 minutes.
The Electric Highway Coalition welcomes interested utilities to join as it seeks to extend the reach of the network. Additionally, it supports, and looks forward to working with, other regional utility transportation corridor electrification initiatives, TVA said.
“This is one of many strategic partnerships that TVA is building to increase the number of electric vehicles to well over 200,000 in the Tennessee Valley by 2028,” said Jeff Lyash, TVA president and CEO.
Lyash believes that electrifying transportation can spur the same innovative transformation that electrifying the Tennessee Valley did back when TVA was founded.
TVA is leading the charge to increase EV adoption in its seven-state service area with the recently announced EV Initiative, which is based on building partnerships with local power companies, state agencies and other organizations.
TVA noted that it 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. This initiative is a multi-year plan to accelerate the electrification of transportation through programs to reduce or eliminate the market barriers that currently prevent more people from choosing EVs.
By addressing the barriers to EV adoption, the anticipated outcome is:
- Well over 200,000 EVs on Valley roadways by 2028;
- $120 million reinvested in the local economy per year from electric refueling;
- $200 million in consumer fuel savings per year; and
- Almost 1 million metric tons of CO2 saved per year (or the equivalent of the carbon sequestered by 1 million acres of U.S. forests in one year)
This announcement comes on the heels of the recently announced partnership between TVA and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to develop and fund a fast charging network across the interstates and major highways of Tennessee. TVA plans to work with state agencies in other states to develop a fast charging network across the Tennessee Valley.