Vanderbilt energizes Nashville with electric car charging station

Maintaining an electric car will soon become more feasible for Nashville residents due to a new electric vehicle charging station on the edge of main campus.
vanderbiltev.PNGThe solar-assisted charging station can charge 10 cars simultaneously and will be located in a Vanderbilt parking lot off Broadway Avenue between The Center building and the Vanderbilt Law School. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of the 2012 spring semester.

The facility is the result of collaboration between Vanderbilt, Tennessee Valley Authority, and Electric Power Research Institute. According to John Halliwell, senior project manager with EPRI, the Vanderbilt parking lot was selected to house the new station because of open access to the sun and the likelihood that students and professors own electric cars. Moreover, charging time takes about two to three hours, a timeslot that fits well within a commuters schedule. One dollar per half hour will cover the cost of charging the vehicle and parking.  

Another incentive behind the construction of the charging station is to obtain data on consumer energy usage and distribution system reliability.

We can get an idea of how much energy a car uses when a consumer visits the station and then get an idea of how far consumers travel during each drive, Halliwell said. Were also interested in how well the solar charging does to offset energy usage of the vehicle over time. It would be a big part of our research to capture this information.

EPRI and TVA will then use this data to formulate strategies for optimal energy use. Even the way the station itself is run will reflect energy conservation methods. For instance, Halliwell said that the facilitys battery could be discharged during the daytime to offset the peak time of energy consumption, usually caused by many people running air conditioning simultaneously.  

Plans for the project were developed as part of TVAs recent work to expand the infrastructure necessary to support electric vehicles.

The Vanderbilt facility advances TVAs efforts to make Tennessee plug-in ready for buyers of electric vehicles, said James Ellis, senior manager for transportation and infrastructure at TVA. It is a major step in realizing a regional system of clean fuel for electric vehicles.

With the help of TVA, Tennessee stands with California at the forefront of the nations electric vehicle mobilization. Last year, Tennessee offered a $2,500 tax rebate to the first 1000 owners of electric vehicles. Both the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt are sold within the state, with owners of the Nissan Leaf already numbering in the hundreds. The EPRI/TVA project already has plans for additional charging stations to be built in Memphis and Chattanooga.
The Electric Power Research Institute
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