Knoxville to add 350 electric vehicle charging stations, including 10 solar powered units

When electric cars start rolling off the production lines, drivers in Knoxville can buy with confidence. The city is working in conjunction with ECOtality, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Knoxville Utilities Board, Tennessee Valley Authority and Knox County, to build the infrastructure needed to keep car batteries charged.
An estimated 350 charging stations are scheduled to be built within a 25 mile radius in the Knoxville area. Ten will be solar powered.

City officials are evaluating more than 100 proposed locations for the stations.

"Its a really unique opportunity, and it's really exciting," said Susanna Bass, Sustainability Program Manager.

Five of the solar stations are expected to be built at the Market Square Parking Garage, the others will be placed at the garage next to the Civic Coliseum.

Electric vehicles, like the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt, can travel limited distances before needing to either recharge the batteries or switch to their gas powered engines. With the charging stations, drivers will be able to fuel up while away from home.

"If you travel around town and have 15 to 30 minutes and you need a battery recharge, then you can just choose a location that you have to run an errand at that takes that amount of time," Bass said.

The project is part of a $115 million grant to ECOtality through the Department of Energy. The company will build the charging stations and study the usage patterns of drivers in Knoxville, Nashville, and Chattanooga through the EV project.

"I would say, over the course of the next two years you'll see these things popping up all over town and in our region," Bass said.

The first charging stations are expected to be online by September.
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