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A Letter From Sustainability Director Brian Blackmon: Excited About Going Electric? We Can Help! 
Brian BlackmonAs you’ve no doubt already heard, there is a lot of exciting buzz around electric vehicles over the last year.

Maybe you’ve heard about KAT’s new all-electric buses, or perhaps you’ve driven one of the city’s Nissan Leafs. Or, if you’re a race fan, maybe you’ve seen the all-electric Formula E or MotoGP E racing series.

Regardless, electric vehicles - or EVs for short - are going to be a growing product line from most of our favorite manufacturers over the next three years. I wanted to share a few insights on how Knoxville, and Tennessee overall, are transforming to prepare.

First, the City of Knoxville Fleet Services Department has already begun transitioning its light duty non-emergency vehicles to electric. The EV models like the Nissan Leaf have more favorable life cycle costs. The price is only slightly higher; however, the routine annual maintenance costs are significantly lower in EVs due to increased fuel efficiency (and low cost of electricity!), the fact the brakes are longer wearing, there’s no need for oil/air filters, and transmissions typically have less gears or plates to wear. 

The second focus area being led by the Office of Sustainability is the deployment of electric vehicle supply equipment (commonly referred to as EVSE). One of the main concerns we hear from residents thinking about making the switch to an EV is the concern about range anxiety.

While there are already dozens of charging locations throughout the city, they aren’t as apparent as a gas station on the corner. In addition, there are many folks who rely on public charging due constraints like lack of off-street parking or no charging options in a rental, condo or apartment.

Our team has two priorities: (1) addressing gaps in coverage; and (2) increasing service in high use areas.

We are aiming to double the publicly available charging ports within a year, and zeroing in on neighborhoods that may have higher barriers to have at-home charging.

Finally, our team is collaborating with partners from throughout the state and region to prepare for the EV transition. We work with teams from KUB, TDEC, TVA and industry experts individually and also collectively under the banner of Drive Electric Tennessee (https://www.driveelectrictn.org/).

These partnerships and conversations have already culminated in massive joint investments that will transform the state. Over the next three years or so, look for dramatic advances with programs like the Fast Charge TN Network - which will place a fast charger every 50 miles along state corridors - and the recently announced TDEC partnership with Rivian to put charging in nearly every state park. It will be just in time for the next big wave of EVs to hit the dealership floor!

If you’ve got questions about going electric for your family, we’re happy to help!

Yours in service,
Brian Blackmon
Office of Sustainability
Posted by evreeland On 24 September, 2021 at 9:26 AM