The Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation (TDEC) has announced it will partner with Rivian, an electric vehicle automaker, to install electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at all 56 state parks. Initially, charging stations will be free, and drivers can track their charging via Rivian’s app. Rivian will cover needed utility upgrades, network access fees, equipment service, and maintenance for 10 years for Level 2 chargers, compatible with all EV models on the road today. Following site surveys and engineering work in the summer, installation is expected to begin in fall 2021 through spring 2022.
Earlier this year, TDEC and the Tennessee Valley Authority committed to an EV fast-charging network and to collaborate on and fund such a network along every 50 miles of Tennessee’s federal highways at an estimated cost of $20M. Funding sources include approximately $5M of TDEC’s Volkswagen Diesel Settlement Environmental Mitigation allocation. As of February, Tennessee had 24 fast-charging EV stations. As of December 2020, more than 11,000 light-duty EVs were registered in Tennessee, with a goal of 200,000 by 2028.