TVA, Tennessee to bring electric vehicle recharging stations every 50 miles on state highways

Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / The Nissan Leaf is seen at a charging station at Coolidge Park on Monday, March 30, 2020 in Chattanooga, Tenn.

To help jump start the growing electric car market, America's biggest public utility is teaming up with Tennessee state and local governments and private businesses in a new initiative to build a network of fast-charging stations every 50 miles along Tennessee's interstates and major highways.

Tennessee is using a portion of the penalties Volkswagen paid to the state for its previous diesel emission violations while the Tennessee Valley Authority, Chattanooga's EPB and other local power companies are pledging to also aid in a $20 million initiative to build 50 fast-charging stations across the state over the next three to five years. That will more than double the current number of such fast-charging stations in Tennessee that quickly recharge battery-operated vehicles for travelers needing such recharges during their travel.

David Salyers, the commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, said the new initiative will help finance the building of rapid recharging stations in rural areas of the state to ensure that any electric vehicle driver is within 50 miles of a recharging station when they are traveling on the state's busiest highways.