TDEC Launches Medium and Large Truck Grant Program
On August 27, TDEC released its third solicitation for projects under the Volkswagen Diesel Settlement Environmental Mitigation Trust (VW Settlement EMT). The purpose of the EMT is to execute environmental mitigation projects that reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides. All terms that are both bolded and italicized below are defined in Appendix D-2 of the State Trust Agreement.

Under this solicitation, $6,177,588.45 in EMT funding is available for eligible Class 4-7 Local Freight Truck (Medium Truck) projects and $4,118,392.30 in EMT funding is available for eligible Class 8 Local Freight Truck and Port Drayage Truck (Large Truck) projects. The grant program, managed by the TDEC Office of Energy Programs, will provide financial assistance to public, non-profit, and private fleets in Tennessee that apply to replace eligible Medium or Large Trucks with any new Alternate Fueled, All-Electric, or diesel Medium or Large Trucks. Additionally, fleets may also apply to Repower Medium or Large Trucks with new All-Electric, Alternate Fueled, or diesel Medium or Large Truck drivetrains.

Medium or Large Trucks eligible for replacement or Repower include 1992-2009 engine model year or older Class 4-7 Local Freight Trucks (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) between 14,001 lbs. and 33,000 lbs.) used to deliver cargo and freight and Class 8 Local Freight Trucks and Port Drayage Trucks (GVWR greater than 33,000 lbs.) used for port drayage and/or freight/cargo delivery.

Applications and supporting documentation must be submitted electronically via the online TDEC Grants Management System, which may be accessed here: must be received by 4:00 PM Central on October 30, 2020. TDEC will announce awards after conducting a comprehensive review and evaluation of all complete and eligible grant applications. Grant contracting efforts will occur shortly thereafter. For more information, click here.

For additional information on the VW Settlement, visit the TDEC website at and sign up for TDEC’s email list here.

Washington County Unveils New Propane School Bus Fleet
Washington County Schools recently celebrated the addition of five new propane-powered school buses into its vehicle fleet. The school district received more than $100,000 in funding to support the vehicle purchases through by the Reducing Diesel Emissions for a Healthier Tennessee (RDE4HT) Rebate Program. RDE4HT is an EPA-funded program managed by the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition on behalf of TDEC.  The annual program is designed to reduce diesel emissions in the transportation sector; projects prioritized for funding include the replacement or repower of older diesel vehicles with new alternative fuel vehicles, engines, or systems. The next RFP for RDE4HT projects is anticipated to be released in October. For more information, click here.
Washington County is just one of many Tennessee school districts working to deploy alternative fuels to reduce transportation emissions and improve local air quality. Through Tennessee’s VW Settlement EMT School Bus Replacement Grant Program, 12 entities were selected to receive funding to support the replacement of 69 older diesel-powered school buses with new school buses that use alternative fuels such as propane, compressed natural gas, and electricity—including Washington County Schools, which will purchase an electric school bus and associated charging infrastructure under the VW Settlement program. Click here to learn more.
Memphis Area Transit Authority Receives Funding to Accelerate Innovative Mobility
The Federal Transit Administration recently announced that it will fund several projects under this year’s Accelerating Innovative Mobility (AIM) initiative to support mobility and innovation in the transit industry. Under this opportunity, the Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) will receive $483,000 to develop a fare collection system that encompasses several mobility options in the Memphis area, including MATA’s existing transit services, micro-transit, ride-hailing services, vanpools, and medical and human services transportation. In addition to the fare collection system, MATA will also develop a one-stop-shop website for multimodal mobility information to help the public understand their local mobility options. Click here for a full list of AIM funding recipients and project descriptions.
TennSMART to Lead LaunchTN’s New Automotive Mentor Network Program
LaunchTN recently announced a new automotive branch of its Mentor Networks program, a free statewide mentoring program for early-stage companies to help entrepreneurs develop compelling commercialization strategies and prepare for funding and growth. The automotive sector plays a key role in Tennessee with respect to employment, supply chain capabilities, corporate investment, and institutional research assets; Tennessee’s automotive manufacturing sector includes operations in 88 of the state’s 95 counties.

The new automotive Mentor Networks category will be led by TennSMART, a public-private consortium designed to accelerate the development and deployment of new intelligent mobility innovations in Tennessee. TennSMART will use is stakeholder base—comprised of representatives from the automotive and trucking industries, local and State government, research institutions, and more—to enable connections between startups and established companies and to ensure access and scalability in areas such as automotive manufacturing, supply chains, and fleet management. Click here to learn more about LaunchTN’s Mentor Networks program.
TAEBC Op-Ed: Transportation Electrification Will Bolster Tennessee’s Economy
A recent op-ed written by Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) Executive Director Cortney Piper highlights how transportation electrification will fuel growth for existing businesses in Tennessee, attract new investment, and launch Tennessee into a new phase of manufacturing, job creation, and workforce development.

TAEBC’s 2018 Tennessee Advanced Energy Economic Impact Report notes that the advanced energy sector contributes $39.7 billion to state gross domestic product and employs nearly 360,000 Tennesseans. Initiatives to boost electric vehicle production and workforce training can create manufacturing jobs at facilities that establish themselves as regional leaders in employment and develop competitive energy sector workers at community and technical colleges across the state.

Tennessee’s robust automotive sector serves to benefit from the boon in electric vehicle or related parts manufacturing. Nissan has manufactured their all-electric Leaf in Tennessee since 2013, and last year, Volkswagen announced that their first electric vehicle to be manufactured in the U.S. will be made in Chattanooga. Just last week, a presentation by top Volkswagen officials showed the Chattanooga production site, which will build the ID.4 SUV by 2022, as one of the cornerstones to their strategy in making the crossover the company’s first global electric vehicle. The manufacturing plant began an $800 million expansion for electric vehicle production in 2019, which includes the development of a new high voltage laboratory to develop and test electric vehicle cells and battery packs.

As the company prepares for electric vehicle production, Volkswagen plans to hire about 150 production employees in Chattanooga by the end of 2020 and will ramp up hiring throughout next year. The Chattanooga plant will contribute to the State’s goal of becoming the top electric vehicle producer in the country and will support economic prosperity and job creation tied to transportation electrification.

TDOT Transportation Alternatives Program
TDOT’s federally-funded Transportation Alternatives Program aims to assist communities across the state in efforts to revitalize downtown areas, highlight historic districts, provide alternative means of transportation, and increase opportunities for economic development. Since the program’s inception, TDOT has distributed $386 million to communities across Tennessee for eligible projects, including the construction of sidewalks or bike and pedestrian trails; restoration of historic facilities; landscaping; and other non-traditional transportation projects.
All local governmental agencies in Tennessee, including those within the Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville MPO/TPO planning areas, may submit an application to the program. Contact your MPO/TPO for additional information and specific guidelines regarding regional competitive program schedules. Full applications are due October 2, and can be completed through the State’s eGrants system. For more information on eligible projects and how to apply, see the program instruction booklet.
2020 Autogas Answers Virtual Events
The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) is now supporting virtual Autogas Answers events for 2020. These events aim to educate organizations on how they can reduce expenses over a vehicle’s lifetime by utilizing propane autogas as a transportation fuel. These virtual events provide an opportunity for fleet professionals to hear directly from other key influencers about propane autogas; the events also promote the commercialization of propane powered products for on-road applications (e.g., school buses, shuttles, delivery vehicles, and law enforcement vehicles) and off-road applications (e.g., forklifts, ground service equipment, and irrigation). Events will include an overview of available funding opportunities, such as the VW Settlement, that may assist in the purchase of autogas vehicles.
Hosts may include, but are not limited to, State or local government entities, environmental or sustainability organizations, and utilities. Virtual events will be held via 90-minute Zoom webinars and will be facilitated by a PERC representative; host organizations will receive $500 for their participation in the virtual event. For information on Autogas Answers events, see the event guidelines for local hosts here. Organizations interested in hosting a virtual Autogas Answers event should contact Greg Zilberfarb at
National Drive Electric Week Events in Tennessee
National Drive Electric Week (NDEW), which will take place from September 26-October 4, is a nationwide celebration to heighten awareness of today's electric vehicle offerings and to highlight the benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric cars, trucks, motorcycles, and more. This year, the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition will host a NDEW event called “Driving EV Leadership: How to Develop a Local Electric Vehicle Ecosystem in Your Community” in Johnson City at the Carnegie Hotel & Spa on September 24 from 7:30 AM to 12:30 PM Eastern. The event will feature presentations on how to develop a local electric vehicle ecosystem and how local leaders across a variety of sectors (e.g., government, education, health, electric power, transportation, etc.) can work together to create an environment that promotes and supports electric vehicle adoption. Speakers will include TDEC Commissioner David Salyers, Johnson City Mayor Jenny Brock, Drive Electric Tennessee (DET) Coordinator Virginia Salazar-Buda, and several other representatives from local utilities, educational institutions, and health systems. The event will conclude with an electric vehicle demonstration.

To adhere to Tennessee’s COVID-19 guidelines, in-person attendance for this event is limited; however, the event will also be broadcast online to allow for additional remote attendance. Click here to register for in-person attendance. Click here to register to attend the event remotely via webinar.

DET will also be hosting additional outdoor satellite NDEW events, each of which will feature an EV demonstration, at the following locations and dates:
  • September 24, 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM Eastern at the TDEC Chattanooga Environmental Field Office
  • September 26, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM Central at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville
  • October 3, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM Central at Cumberland Mountain State Park in Crossville
Additionally, DET and Tennessee Clean Fuels are collecting electric vehicle testimonials and success stories in the form of short videos to share during NDEW. The submissions will be posted on the organizations’ social media pages and will be featured in a video library, which will be used as a resource to inform and educate prospective electric vehicle owners. The deadline to submit a video is MondaySeptember 21, 2020.

If you are interested in contributing to this effort, please complete this Google form to sign up for the question you’d like to address in your video. In addition to the topic to be addressed, the video should include your name, location in Tennessee, the type of electric vehicle you’re presenting, how long you have had the vehicle, and your previous experience with electric vehicles and associated charging infrastructure. Please submit your 1-3 minute video in MP4 format to by September 21.
SMART Mobility Consortium Webinar Series
U.S. DOE will host a series of Systems and Modeling for Accelerated Research in Transportation (SMART) Mobility Consortium webinars this fall, designed to help participants in this sector deliver new data, analysis, and modeling tools as well as to create new knowledge in support of smarter mobility systems. The webinars will take place at the following dates and times:
For the full list of presenters and registration links as they become available, see the full webinar series here
Innovation Crossroads Showcase
ORNL’s Innovation Crossroads is an entrepreneurial research and development program, supported by U.S. DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office and TVA. The program leverages ORNL’s unique scientific resources and capabilities to connect the nation’s top innovators with experts, mentors, and networks in technology-related fields, helping entrepreneurs move their ideas and technologies from the lab and into the marketplace.
Presented by the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) and LaunchTN, the Innovation Crossroads Showcase virtual event will be held on September 30 at 11:00 AM Eastern, featuring a fireside chat with Cortney Piper, TAEBC Executive Director, and Van Tucker, LaunchTN Interim Chief Executive Officer. Attendees will hear from startups that have participated in the Innovation Crossroads program and learn about resources for energy startups, including the Mentor Networks program and its new automotive category. Click here to register for the event.
Register Now for the 2020 Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Forum & Expo Webinar Series
The Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Forum & Expo (STF&E) is an annual conference where attendees share and discover projects that can reshape what is possible in transportation and mobility. In 2020, STF&E will be held as a free, online webinar series that will promote research, technology, planning, and policy developments that improve transportation efficiency, reduce vehicle emissions, and address the mobility needs of all. Panelists and speakers from across the country will highlight best practices to transform transportation systems efficiently, affordably, and sustainably. 
Registration is now available for each of the 2020 STF&E webinar sessions, to occur every other week throughout October and November. See the time, date, speaker, and topic information below for the 2020 STF&E webinar series.
October 6, 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM Central
  • Moderator: Dan Pallme, Assistant Chief of Environment and Planning / Freight and Logistics Director, TDOT
  • Speaker: Amanda Marruffo, Senior Manager of Environmental Operations, BNSF
  • Speaker: Amy Kosanovic, Planning Supervisor of the Freight Planning Office, TDOT
  • Speaker: Kevin Walker, Principal Engineer, CSR Engineering
October 20, 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM Central
  • Moderator: Suzanne Carlson, Multimodal Transportation Resources Division Director, TDOT
  • Speaker: Mark Graves, Town of Chapel Hill Administrator, Chapel Hill
  • Speaker: Pingen Chen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Tennessee Tech University 
  • Speaker: Robert Hyman, Transportation Policy Analyst, Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success Initiative, U.S. DOT
November 2, 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM Central
  • Moderator: Ben Bolton, Energy Programs Administrator, Office of Energy Programs, TDEC
  • Speaker: Andrew Joyner, Associate Professor, East Tennessee State University
  • Speaker: Mark D. Abkowitz, Ph.D., Director of Vanderbilt Center for Environmental Management Studies, Vanderbilt University
  • More speaker information to come!
November 17, 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM Central
  • Clay Bright, TDOT Commissioner
  • David Salyers, P.E., TDEC Commissioner
  • Greg Young, TDEC Deputy Commissioner, Bureau of Environment
  • Preston Elliott, TDOT Deputy Commissioner, Environmental and Planning Bureau
Learn more about STF&E at here to sign up for more STF&E news.
Shared Mobility Benefits Calculator
Developed by the Shared-Use Mobility Center, the Shared Mobility Benefits Calculator helps cities estimate the emissions benefits of deploying various modes of shared mobility and vehicle electrification. Using its estimates, which are derived from research publications and shared mobility user surveys, policymakers can envision and set goals toward reducing congestion, household transportation costs, and carbon emissions from personal vehicles.

Six Tennessee cities (Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Clarksville, and Murfreesboro) are currently featured in the calculator. For each city, users can investigate how different shared mobility and transportation electrification efforts can lead to reductions in vehicle miles traveled and/or associated vehicle emissions. As an example, the calculator estimates that, should Chattanooga add roughly 10,000 transit commuters, 400 carshare vehicles, and 10,000 telecommuters to its transportation system, as well as convert 10% of its residents’ personal vehicles to run on electricity, the city’s carbon dioxide emissions from transportation would be reduced by 14%. Click here to learn about the calculator.
Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success
U.S. DOT has developed an Applicant Toolkit to provide grant funding guidance under its Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success (ROUTES) initiative. This toolkit supports rural transportation providers in identifying and navigating U.S. DOT discretionary grant funding opportunities and provides user-friendly information and resources to support rural applicants' understanding of U.S. DOT discretionary grant programs, planning opportunities, programs, and funding processes. The ROUTES initiative is coordinated across key modal administrations, including the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, the Federal Rail Administration, and the Federal Aviation Administration. To learn more about this initiative, visit
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
Past Monthly Newsletters
powered by emma
Subscribe to our email list.