The Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority has received a Smart 50 Award for its solar-assisted electric vehicle charging and car-share project, the agency said in a news release.
Spokeswoman Veronica Peebles said CARTA is one of two Chattanooga-based entities to receive accolades in this year's awards, which recognize smart cities projects from around the world. The awards are a partnership of Smart Cities Connect, Smart Cities Connect Foundation,and US Ignite, according to Peebles.
CARTA, as the public transportation agency and leader in electric vehicle deployment, developed the solar charging project in partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority, Green Commuter, Prova Group, EPB, and the city of Chattanooga.
It comprises a network of publicly accessible electric vehicle charging infrastructure and promotes transportation choice through
integration with traditional transit, electric shuttle operations, the Bike Chattanooga bicycle transit system, and public parking infrastructure.
"Our over 30 years of experience with electric vehicles made this project a perfect fit," said Lisa Maragnano, CARTA Executive Director. "Providing the public with the rights tools for the right trip is what CARTA is about, now and in the future. Bike, bus, drive, or park, CARTA is there."
With the construction of 80kW of solar energy production and related power provider agreements, a compensatory amount of clean energy is provided to the electric grid to match vehicle energy use. So far CARTA has installed 64 electric vehicle charging ports across 22 site locations promoting electric vehicle charging access at no cost to the user. CARTA selected Green Commuter, a California-based benefit corporation, to introduce 20 Nissan LEAF all-electric vehicles as part of a new car share program, with vehicles accessible by the hour or day through smart phone technology. This unique ownership model of the electric vehicle supply equipment by CARTA provides for continued maintenance and connectivity of the charging network through revenues produced by solar energy production.