Charging Forward – March 2021
This month's buzz is all about laying solid EV foundations. Utilities across the region are teaming up to form the Electric Highway Coalition, which plans to coordinate DC fast-charging infrastructure to make EV road trips across the Southeast more seamless. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation will be tripling the amount of DC fast-charging in Tennessee alone.
Speaking of road trips, if you are looking for an adventurous way to wrap up Earth Week you won't want to miss our virtual ride and live question and answer with race car driver and environmental activist Leilani Münter on April 24.
Additionally, we're sharing three separate pieces on the policies that will help drive us into a cleaner, more economically robust electric transportation future. The first is a blog explaining the need for EV readiness at the local level. The second highlights policies that will accelerate North Carolina's EV market. Finally, a new research paper details why transportation electrification is a key response to climate change, air pollution, and COVID-19, which harkens back to a SACE blog from last year on the intersections of COVID, public health, equity, and clean-energy powered transportation.
As we continue to track the progress of electric transportation growth in the Southeast and beyond, we remain grateful for our readers who stay connected to us and others on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To receive these newsletters in your inbox, click here to sign up!
Powering the EV Movement
Three public policies would enable cleaner, more energy secure, and lower-cost electric transportation options for consumers in North Carolina. Such policies would in turn boost economic growth by supporting the state’s growing EV manufacturing and supply chain companies. The second blog in a series based on the brief published recently by SACE and Atlas Public Policy, “Transportation Electrification in North Carolina,” examines the potential impact of these three public policies. Read more in this blog post.
Electric vehicle (EV) readiness dramatically decreases the costs to install EV charging infrastructure down the road by utilizing pre-construction planning to include parking spaces with electrical infrastructure that enables future EV charging. To learn about the three tiers of EV readiness and what you can do to promote them, read more in this blog post.
Let's celebrate Earth Week together with race car driver and environmental activist Leilani Münter in the driver's seat of an electric vehicle! Join Leilani, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, and the Natural Resources Defense Council for an Earth Week webinar where she will take us through the paces in her electric car and explain why she's an advocate for electric transportation powered by clean energy. Following the virtual ride, Leilani will answer live questions posed by viewers. Join the fun on Saturday, April 24 from 1-2 PM ET. Make sure to register to hold your reservation.
Saturday, April 24, 1-2 PM ET
Our friends at Plug-in NC are still gathering applications from North Carolinians interested in getting a specialty EV license plate, and applicants' initial $10 fee will be covered by Plug-in NC. Electric vehicle advocates have presented this specialty license plate design to the NC Department of Motor Vehicles and the NC General Assembly for approval this spring. The specialty license plates are not just for electric vehicles! If the design is approved, the plate can increase awareness of and support for electric vehicles no matter what kind of vehicle they are on.
Paving the Way
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation are partnering to develop a statewide electric vehicle fast-charging network to power the growth of EVs across Tennessee and reduce barriers to transportation electrification. The initiative would add approximately 50 new charging locations – tripling the existing fast-charging network – spur jobs and economic investment in the region, keep refueling dollars in the local economy, reduce the region’s largest source of carbon emissions, and save drivers and fleets money.
Atlas Public Policy and the Alliance for Transportation Electrification released the research paper, Air Quality, Climate Change, and COVID-19, earlier this month. The research and analysis explore the connections between the pandemic, public health, and emissions, and the role of transportation electrification as a part of the solution.
Electric vehicles are proving more resilient to the pandemic downturn than fossil gas-powered counterparts, with 2020 EV sales down 3% from 2019 compared to auto sales overall down 15%. And with a bunch of new EV models coming to traditional automaker showrooms in 2021, the 'pivotal year' claim might be spot-on.
Six major utilities plan to add electric vehicle fast chargers to connect major highway systems across the U.S. as they look to cater to the burgeoning electric vehicle market. The Electric Highway Coalition – made up of American Electric Power, Dominion Energy D.N., Duke Energy, Entergy Corp, Southern Co., and Tennessee Valley Authority – is planning to provide charging stations within their service territories from the Atlantic Coast, through the Midwest and South, and into the Gulf and Central Plains regions.
The Southeast continues to attract electric vehicle manufacturing expansion! ARRIVAL will invest $41-million in a new production facility in Charlotte, North Carolina to assemble UPS delivery vans. This investment expands upon their headquarters in Charlotte and production facility across the border in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
Readers Kicking Gas
Every month we'll spotlight stories and photos from YOU, our readers, about how EVs play a role in your world. To be featured in an upcoming ETS newsletter, send us an email here!
Jennifer Rennicks, Asheville, N.C.
"Back in 2016, my family traded in a 16-year-old Honda Civic and bought an all-electric Nissan Leaf. We were initially drawn to an electric car because our research suggested it would be far cheaper to charge up on electricity than it costs to fill up a gas tank, but the environmental benefits mattered to us too because my husband and our children all suffer from asthma. After three years of fighting over who gets to drive the EV, we ended up taking an even bigger plunge and purchased a long-range EV (this time a Tesla Model 3) which we typically charge at the solar-powered chargers at SACE's Asheville office. We'll never go back to driving on fossil fuels - we love #DrivingOnSunshine! — Jennifer Rennicks is a SACE staff and charging member