CARTA making plans for new charging station on UTC’s electric shuttle route

Staff photo by Matt Hamilton / An electric shuttle slows Aug. 9 as it passes a bus stop near the intersection of Sawyer Street and North Market Street.

In an effort to increase efficiency, CARTA is planning to add a charging pad for its electric buses on the No. 14 route that runs the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's campus.

If approved by Hamilton County commissioners next week, the charging pad would be placed at the bus stop at the corner of O'Neal and East Fifth streets, just across the street from Engel Stadium.

The batteries on the electric buses must be charged about every six to eight hours. Charging pads allow buses to recharge on the route and continue service hours without requiring a trip to the garage, Veronica Peebles, spokesperson for the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority, said in an email.

"Adding this charging station provides a more efficient operation of our service with minimal to no disruption to the route," Peebles said.

The charging pad would be the first on any of CARTA's routes.

When the pad will begin operation has not been determined, as that depends of construction and installation schedules, Peebles said.

The shelter in place at the O'Neal bus stop will remain there once the pad is installed.

(READ MORE: 'Exposed to the elements': Only about 5% of CARTA bus stops sheltered)

Installation of the charging pad is pending a decision from the Hamilton County Commission on Oct. 4. The proposed location of the charging pad is on property jointly owned by the county and the city of Chattanooga.

At next week's meeting, commissioners are scheduled to decide whether to authorize County Mayor Weston Wamp to sign the necessary documents to allow CARTA to use the land. The city has already officially allowed usage of the property as the City Council is not required to give authorization.

At Wednesday's agenda meeting, when commissioners discussed the measure, Commissioner Joe Graham, R-Lookout Valley, requested the agreement ensure the county can take back use of the land if CARTA stops using it in the future.

Language ensuring that would be in the final contract, County Attorney Rheubin Taylor said.

No other commissioners commented on the measure.

(READ MORE: CARTA board unanimously increases Chattanooga's downtown on-street parking rates)

CARTA's use of the property won't require any funding from the county or the city.

The charging pad will cost approximately $326,000, Annie Powell, CARTA's director of grants, technology and research, said in an email. This cost will not be covered by CARTA, she said, but by InductEV, a private company that builds wireless chargers for electric vehicles.

The installation of the charging pad will cost $253,166. That is funded through a portion of CARTA's American Rescue Plan grant from the Federal Transit Administration, Powell said.

Contact Ben Sessoms at or 423-757-6354.