One of America's biggest suppliers of electricity wants to make it easier for its employees and other motorists to get their electric vehicles recharged near its offices in downtown Chattanooga.
The Tennessee Valley Authority plans to install up to a dozen Clipper Creek electric vehicle charging stations in Chattanooga's Southside Garage to recharge both TVA's own electric-powered vehicle fleet and other electric-powered cars parked in the city-owned garage.
"TVA believes it is important to show leadership by using more EVs (electric vehicles) our self as well as supporting consumers like TVA employees who purchase their own EV with opportunities to recharge," said Andrew Frye, TVA's program manager of Grid Edge Tech and electric vehicles. "The Chattanooga office complex is one of the locations with the most TVA employees who drive EVs with little support in neighboring parking facilities for recharging options."
Directors of the Chattanooga Downtown Redevelopment Corp., which owns the downtown parking garage near the Chattanoogan and TVA's Office of Power headquarters, agreed Monday to allow TVA to install the recharging stations. The city agency will work with Republic Parking Services, which operates the city's downtown parking garages, to coordinate installation of two recharging stations exclusively for TVA vehicles on top of the garage and up to 10 other recharging stations on the second floor of the garage for TVA vehicles and other cars.
TVA will pay for the estimated $12,000 cost of the recharging units, plus their installation by Mountain City Electric Inc., but the city will assume the costs of the electricity to power the recharging units. Frye estimated the extra power bill for the recharging units, if regularly used, will be about $1,000 more a year.
"That could be repaid if this helps attract just a couple of more vehicles parking in the garage (under long-term lease)," he said.
TVA and others who pay to park in the Southside parking garage would be allowed to recharge while their vehicles are parked in the garage without any extra fee. That avoids the need to meter and bill for the power sold for recharging the EVs.
"Studies show consumers are 25 times more likely to purchase an EV if they have reliable access to charging at their workplace," Frye said.
Volkswagen of America, the U.S. division of the world's biggest car maker which builds that Atlas and Passat in Chattanooga, plans to phase out new gas-powered vehicle designs over the next decade in favor of elecctric vehicles.
TVA, which built an electric vehicle test facility in Chattanooga in the 1970s and has been studying and promoting EV use ever since, has installed EV charging stations at 25 TVA work locations around its 7-state region.
Surveys of TVA employees, including nearly 4,000 who work in and around Chattanooga, showed that about half said they are considering buying an electric vehicle and most support TVA installing more recharging stations.
TVA currently operates recharging stations along both sides of Broad Street near its Chattanooga Office Complex, but Frye said those stations may be relocated to more secure and protected spaces in the parking garage.
Contact Dave Flessner at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 757-6340.