Ford Motor Company and SK Innovation to Invest $5.6 Billion in Memphis Regional Megasite
Governor Bill Lee recently announced that Ford Motor Company has selected the Memphis Regional Megasite for one of the largest battery and vehicle manufacturing campuses in the U.S. Ford and SK Innovation will invest $5.6 billion to build a 3,600-acre mega campus called Blue Oval City on the Megasite, where production of next generation all-electric F-Series trucks will begin in 2025. The project will result in the creation of approximately 5,800 new jobs in West Tennessee.
Blue Oval City will be designed to be the largest, most advanced, and most efficient automotive production campus in Ford’s history, and will include an assembly plant, supplier park, and battery manufacturing plant operated by BlueOvalSK (Ford and SK Innovation’s joint venture). The project is anticipated to generate more than 27,000 new jobs, both directly and indirectly, to support the site’s operations, resulting in more than $1.02 billion in annual earnings. Overall, the project is anticipated to contribute $3.5 billion annually to Tennessee’s gross state product.
Rivian Completes Installation of First Waypoint Charger at Radnor Lake State Park
Earlier this month, TDEC and electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian celebrated the unveiling of the first Rivan Waypoint electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at Radnor Lake State Park. The stations are the very first to be installed as part of the partnership between TDEC and Rivian to install Waypoint stations at all 56 State Parks by March 2022, depending on the availability of electrical infrastructure and planned future park upgrades. Rivian oversaw the design and installation of the Level 2 chargers, which are compatible with all EV models currently on the road. The new chargers come at no cost to the state or to taxpayers. EV charging at Tennessee State Parks will initially be free. Any potential future cost to drivers may be dependent on systemwide utilization to recover electricity costs. Click here to read more about the partnership and the Rivian Waypoint station.
Knoxville Debuts its First All-Electric Transit Buses
Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) recently unveiled the city’s first five all-electric transit buses, which comprise part of an order of 12 buses, with the remainder to be delivered by the end of this year. The vehicles represent a step toward Knoxville’s clean and resilient future, and progress toward the City’s goal of reducing carbon emissions 80% by 2050. In addition to the order of 12 buses, an additional six are expected to arrive next year, totaling 18 all-electric buses that will comprise 26% of the overall fleet. Along with the all-electric models, 41% of KAT’s fleet will be hybrid-electric.
KAT partnered with Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB) to ensure the installation of enough electrical capacity to charge as many as 25 all-electric buses in the near future. The charging equipment for the first 12 buses is currently being installed. In the coming months, KAT will begin testing the buses on various routes, training operators on electric bus best practices, and preparing the vehicles to begin regular operating service in January.
Town of Erwin Receives T-Mobile Hometown Grant
T-Mobile has announced the selection of the Town of Erwin as one of 25 small towns across the country to receive a grant to assist in community development. The funding will be used to support the first phase of construction of the O’Brien Watershed Bike and Hike park, including the building of trails, a parking lot, and a trailhead. The project will bring enhanced multimodal access to residents of the small Upper East Tennessee town as well as promote safe walking and biking.

T-Mobile’s Hometown Grants are open quarterly and provide $25 million in investment with a goal to build stronger, more prosperous small towns and rural communities. The grant program funds up to 100 small towns annually with up to $50,000 to each community to support projects, including those that promote multimodal transportation and safety. Click here to learn more.
Light Duty Fuel Economy EV Workshop
The National Academies is hosting a workshop on EVs through October 28. While ongoing improvements in the cost, model availability, and functionality of EVs increase their environmental benefits and market viability, there remain challenges for the light-duty vehicle system to meet the transportation needs of all users while reaching net-zero emissions. Workshop discussions will focus on policy, technical, and market strategies to help federal agencies and other stakeholders plan for the EV future. See the full schedule below:
  • October 26, 1:00 PM-5:15 PM Eastern: Vehicle Production and Lifecycle
  • October 27, 1:00 PM-5:15 PM Eastern: Challenges and Solutions for the Electric System
  • October 28, 1:00 PM-5:15 PM Eastern: Meeting Consumer Needs
Click here to register for the workshop.
Planning for EV Fast Charging Infrastructure Deployment with E-DRIVE
The Georgetown Climate Center and M.J. Bradley and Associates will hold a webinar on November 3 at 2:00 PM Eastern to demonstrate E-DRIVE, an innovative, nationwide online tool to inform the planning and implementation of EV fast charging infrastructure development. E-DRIVE will enable policymakers, planners, businesses, and local leaders to identify and compare priority locations for EV fast charging infrastructure deployment, using a wide range of customizable metrics and mapping filters. This webinar will provide users with an overview of E-DRIVE capabilities, demonstrate how the tool can be used in various EV charging deployment scenarios, and invite feedback and input from participants on ideas for further development of E-DRIVE. Click here to register.
Infrastructure Opportunities for Tennessee & the Southeast
TennSMART will host a virtual member meeting on November 4 from 11:30 AM-2:00 PM Central that breaks down research and funding opportunities for Tennessee in the bipartisan infrastructure bill currently contemplated by the U.S. Congress. The event will also showcase recent economic development opportunities that position Tennessee as a leader in transportation innovation, including a discussion of ways to build a workforce to support new manufacturing. Click here to register.
2021 DERA and American Rescue Plan School Bus Rebates
The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) of 2010 allows U.S. EPA to offer rebates and grants to reduce harmful emissions from older, dirtier diesel vehicles. The 2021 DERA School Bus Rebates will offer approximately $10 million to public and private fleet owners for the replacement of old diesel school buses with new buses certified to EPA’s cleanest emission standards.
Eligible DERA School Bus applicants include regional, state, or tribal entities that have jurisdiction over transportation and air quality (including school districts and municipalities) and private entities that operate school buses under a contract with one of these entities. Fleets with up to 100 school buses may submit one application listing up to 10 buses for scrappage and replacement, and fleets with more than 100 school buses may submit up to two rebate applications with each listing up to 10 different buses.
Eligible buses to be replaced include Class 3-8 diesel school buses (greater than 10,000 lb. Gross Vehicle Weight Rating [GVWR]) with engine model year 2006 or older that have:
  • driven 10,000 or more miles in either the last 12 months or in calendar year 2019, OR
  • were in use four or more days per week between September 1, 2019 and February 29, 2020.
Selected applicants that scrap and replace their old diesel buses will receive a rebate of $20,000-$65,000 per bus, depending on the fuel type of the replacement bus. Applications for rebates are due November 5 at 4:00 PM Eastern to Click here to view the full application. Click here to view the 2021 DERA School Bus Rebates Program Guide.
In addition to the annual DERA School Bus Rebates Program, the all-new American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021 (ARP) Electric School Bus Rebate Program seeks to address disproportionate environmental or public health harms and risks in minority populations or low-income populations through the funding of clean transportation projects. The 2021 ARP Electric School Bus Rebates Program, also managed by U.S. EPA, offers $7 million to eligible school districts and private fleet owners for the replacement of old diesel school buses with new electric school buses. Selected applicants that scrap and replace their old diesel buses with new electric buses will receive a rebate of $300,000 per bus.
Unlike the DERA program, the ARP Rebates provide targeted eligibility to underserved school districts, tribal schools, and private fleets serving those schools. Click here for the full eligibility list to see if your school district qualifies.
Full applications for these ARP Rebates are also due November 5 at 4:00 PM Eastern via e-mail to Click here to access the Program Guide. Click here to access the application.
Webinar: Electric Vehicle Use Case Deployment Examples
The Sustainable Fleet Technology 2021 Webinar Series is a collaborative partnership between the NC Clean Energy Technology Center, The 100 Best Fleets, and the National Association of Fleet Administrators’ Fleet Management Association. Organizers will host an installment of this series on November 9 from 1:00 PM-2:00 PM Central to discuss use case deployments for EVs. With transportation electrification nearing a tipping point, there are more fleets moving from the pilot phase to larger scale deployment. The webinar will highlight a number of such use cases, ranging from low speed EVs to all-electric school buses. Attendees will learn lessons and best practices for successful EV deployment from fleet managers with experience in the EV space. Click here to register.
E-Mobility Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Virtual Conference
The E-Mobility Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Virtual Conference will take place on November 17-18. The two-day conference, presented by EVNoire and Forth, will explore and facilitate conversations about strategies and best practices for engaging diverse communities often hit worst and first by air pollution with new EV programs, policies, and outreach strategies. Attendees include e-mobility, transportation, environmental, and social justice professionals as well as advocates from government, utilities, mobility companies, nonprofits, and other organizations. Interactive sessions will explore best practices and lessons learned, highlight case studies, explore tools, build new relationships, and tackle difficult conversations in the e-mobility space. Visit to learn more. 
Investing in Transportation Resilience: A Framework for Informed Choices
Significant progress has been made over the last decade in integrating resilience criteria into transportation decision-making. A compelling case remains for making transportation projects more resilient in the face of increasing and intensifying storms, floods, droughts, and other natural hazards that are combining with sea-level rise, new temperature and precipitation norms, and other effects from climate change.
The Transportation Research Board’s Special Report 340: Investing in Transportation Resilience: A Framework for Informed Choices reviews current practices for evaluating resilience and conducting investment analysis for the purpose of restoring and adding resilience to transportation projects. These practices require methods for measuring the resilience of the existing transportation system and for evaluating and prioritizing options to improve resilience by strengthening, adding redundancy to, and relocating vulnerable assets.
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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