EPA Announces Funding for Clean School Bus Projects in Tennessee

The EPA Clean School Bus Program has selected nearly 400 projects totaling almost $1 billion to support the purchase of over 2,400 alternative fuel school buses, 95% of which will be electric. Eleven Tennessee school districts will receive $16.4 million in rebates to assist with the purchase of 49 clean school buses, 42 of which will be electric, under the federal program. The funding will help school districts purchase school buses to accelerate the transition to zero-emission vehicles and produce cleaner air in and around schools and communities. 
Tennessee recipients include: 
  • City of Athens
  • Benton County
  • Dickson County
  • Johnson County
  • McNairy County
  • City of Paris
  • Putnam County
  • Shelby County
  • Union County
  • Wayne County
  • Weakley County
Find additional resources on acquiring electric school buses on the World Resources Institute’s Electric School Bus Initiative website and Drive Electric Tennessee’s TN Bus Electrification, Education and Planning (TN BEEP) website.

TTU to Receive Funding for Second-Life Battery Mobile EV Charging Project

U.S. DOE recently announced nearly $74 million in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for 10 projects to advance technologies and processes for EV battery recycling and reuse. Tennessee Technological University (TTU) will receive over $4.5 million towards its proposed second-life battery in mobile EV charging application for rural transportation project.

Since demand for critical battery minerals, such as lithium and graphite, is projected to increase by as much as 4,000% in the coming decades, this latest round of funding supports the recycling and reuse segment of the domestic battery supply chain. TTU’s project aims to address the urgent need to develop affordable mobile charging stations that can be deployed in rural America on a large scale by utilizing second-life batteries retired from EVs. 

Additional details about the project can be found here

Tennessee Selected for a 2022 Complete Streets Leadership Academy

After a competitive application process, the National Complete Streets Coalition is launching three Complete Streets Leadership Academies in the states of Tennessee, California, and Connecticut. Complete Streets Leadership Academies are free, several-month technical assistance programs designed to help state departments of transportation, state health partners, and three localities within the state work together and build skills to transform streets into safer and healthier places.
Through a series of virtual and in-person workshops, the State of Tennessee, the City of Memphis, Metro Nashville, and the City of Chattanooga will learn about Complete Streets implementation and identify policy barriers and strategies for coordinating across numerous jurisdictions, all while planning and implementing “quick-build” temporary street safety demonstration projects. This initiative contributes to Tennessee’s ongoing efforts to promote a focus on multimodal transportation and safety.

New Podcasts Take on Transportation

Energizing Tennessee: Episode 4, Becoming #1 in the Southeast for EV Supply Chain
In this episode, TAEBC’s Cortney Piper discusses how Tennessee is #1 in the Southeast for the electric vehicle (EV) supply chain with guest Kel Kearns, Plant Manager at BlueOval City Electric Vehicle Center. Kearns shares details about Ford’s $5.6 billion investment in West Tennessee and how the company will identify and train the next generation workforce. To listen and subscribe, visit the TAEBC website or wherever you get podcasts.
Energizing Tennessee: Bonus Episode, Busting Common EV Myths with TDEC and TVA
This bonus episode of Energizing Tennessee is all about debunking common EV myths. In this episode, you’ll hear Ryan Stanton, Sr. Project Manager - EV Evolution at the Tennessee Valley Authority, and Alexa Voytek, Deputy Director at TDEC’s Office of Energy Programs dispel common EV misconceptions and discuss the importance of Tennessee’s electrified future. To listen and subscribe, visit the TAEBC website or wherever you listen to podcasts. 
On the Go: An On-Road Transportation Podcast with Clean Cities, Expert Update: Ethanol, Biodiesel, and Renewable Diesel
On this episode of the Clean Cities Coalition Network’s podcast On the Go, alternative fuel experts discuss the current market status of ethanol, biodiesel, and renewable diesel, including vehicle usage, prices, and availability. Kristi Moriarty of NREL and Scott Irwin of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign discuss current production and consumption of these alternative fuels and share insights into the increase in stations offering ethanol, biodiesel, and renewable diesel, expanded production of renewable diesel, and how feedstock prices impact the biofuel market.

ORNL to Partner on Research into Hydrogen-Powered Trains

Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) are exploring alternative fuel options for the rail industry. The research focuses on zero-carbon hydrogen and other low-carbon fuels as viable alternatives to diesel for trains.
Both laboratories have entered into cooperative research and development agreements with Wabtec, a leading manufacturer of freight locomotives. The team’s goal is to design train engines that will deliver the same power, range, and cost-effectiveness as current diesel technology.
In the project’s first phase, the ORNL team will work on hardware changes for retrofitting locomotives with the goal of reducing CO2 emissions from the roughly 25,000 locomotives already in use in North America. Each diesel-powered locomotive that is converted to a zero- or low-carbon energy source is anticipated to save up to 5.6 million pounds of carbon dioxide per year.

Small-Town, Big-Impact: Exploring Safe Routes Projects in Rural Communities

Safe Routes to School is not just for cities and suburbs; small towns and rural communities can successfully implement Safe Routes to School infrastructure and non-infrastructure projects too. Learn how a small, rural town in Colorado got its active transportation projects funded through persistence, partnership, and patience. Register now for the webinar on November 30 at 5:00 PM CT.

U.S. DOE Webinar Series: EV Grid Assist

U.S. DOE hosted a webinar series as part of its EVGrid Assist: Accelerating the Transition initiative. This initiative aims to support decision-makers by providing timely information on a wide range of topics important to integrating EVs and the grid. More information regarding EV Grid Assist and links to recordings of the first four webinars can be found here.

U.S. DOT Funding Available for Technical Assistance Under New Thriving Communities Program

U.S. DOT’s Thriving Communities Program (TCP) aims to ensure that disadvantaged communities adversely or disproportionately affected by environmental, climate, and human health policy outcomes have the technical tools and organizational capacity to compete for federal aid and deliver quality infrastructure projects that enable their communities and neighborhoods to thrive. Read more here.
The Thriving Communities Program will provide no-cost technical assistance, planning, and capacity-building support to teams of community partners that may lack the staffing or technical expertise to scope, fund, and develop infrastructure projects that advance broader community goals. Interested applicants must identify community partners and together submit a Letter of Interest by December 6 to be considered for selection.
In addition, the Thriving Communities Program will fund organizations that will provide technical assistance, planning, and capacity-building support to enable selected recipient communities to plan and develop transportation and community revitalization activities that:
  • Increase mobility
  • Reduce pollution from transportation sources
  • Expand affordable transportation options
  • Facilitate efficient land use
  • Preserve or expand jobs
  • Improve housing conditions
  • Enhance connections to health care, education, and food security
  • Improve health outcomes
A Notice of Funding Opportunity is open through November 29 for those wishing to apply to become a capacity builder.

Reducing Diesel Emissions for a Healthier Tennessee Funding Available to Replace Older Diesel Vehicles with Clean Vehicle Options

The East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition’s (ETCF) “Reducing Diesel Emissions for a Healthier Tennessee” Program is making funding available in Tennessee to replace older diesel vehicles that are class 5-8 with either new alternative fuel vehicles (e.g., propane, compressed natural gas, electric, or hybrid vehicles) or new diesel vehicles. This year, vehicles that serve certain non-road applications are also eligible for funding. The program is funded by the U.S. EPA Diesel Emissions Reductions Act (DERA) State Formula Grant, which provides funding to states to reduce diesel emissions. 

Funding can also be requested to replace engines in older diesel vehicles with new alternative-fueled or diesel engines, convert diesel vehicles to run on alternative fuels, or to deploy Truck Stop Electrification equipment at Tennessee-based Travel Centers and trucking terminals. Anyone with a fleet that resides in Tennessee can apply for a maximum of 15 new vehicles or engine replacements, and public and private locations that would like to install Truck Stop Electrification or electric trailer refrigeration units may also apply.

The instructional webinar from December 2021 is available here. Proposals are due December 9 by 5:00 PM Central. The Request for Proposals and Application Guide are available here

Ford Motor Company Fund’s West Tennessee Capital Grants Program

Ford Motor Company Fund is accepting applications for a new $1 million Capital Grants program to strengthen and improve local communities’ infrastructure in West Tennessee, home to BlueOval City.
The $1 million in Capital Grants are available for nonprofits, municipalities, and other community-focused organizations in West Tennessee, located in the following counties surrounding Ford’s manufacturing mega campus: Haywood, Fayette, Tipton, Lauderdale, Shelby, and Madison.
The grants are intended to enable capital improvements in the region, including physical infrastructure like playgrounds and construction of new or renovated spaces, such as community centers. The awarded grants will range between $25,000 - $100,000.
Applications are due February 3, 2023 by 5:00 PM Central and applicants will be notified of the results by early April. Read FAQs

The 2023 Model Year Fuel Economy Guide Can Help You Choose Your Next Fuel-Efficient Vehicle

U.S. DOE and U.S. EPA released the 2023 Fuel Economy Guide, which provides the estimated fuel economy in miles per gallon and annual fuel costs using national averages of fuel costs and miles driven of most model year 2022 vehicles for sale in the United States, listed by vehicle class, and then by manufacturer, making it easier to compare vehicles.
The Guide’s website,, provides additional features, including a useful online version of the guide with information on new vehicles and used vehicles dating back to 1984. The site allows you to easily search for vehicles through a number of other categories using the "Power Search" feature, including MSRP, fuel economy, fuel type (such as gasoline, diesel, and electricity), and class of vehicle.  The site also features the ability to customize estimated annual fuel costs by entering the number of miles you drive in a year, the price you pay at the pump, and the percentage of miles you drive in stop-and-go traffic, so you get a more personalized and accurate estimate.

Report: 65% of Plug-in Vehicles on U.S. Roads in 2021 Assembled Domestically

A new report prepared by Argonne National Laboratory shows that in 2021, 73% of all plug-in vehicles on the road in the U.S. were assembled in North America, with 65% of them built in the United States. Japan was a distant second at 12%, followed by Germany at 6%. Since 2011—the first full year of mass market plug-in vehicle sales in the U.S.— a greater share of plug-in vehicles has been assembled domestically than conventional internal combustion-powered vehicles.
The report, Assessment of Light-Duty Plug-in Electric Vehicles in the United States, 2010 – 2021, also shows that the number of plug-in electric vehicles sold in the United States has consistently grown since 2010, reaching 4% of the light-duty vehicle market in 2021. It examines how the characteristics for these vehicles have changed over the decade, evaluating range, energy efficiency, costs, and performance. Given the vehicle characteristics, the report estimates miles driven, electricity consumption, petroleum reduction, and greenhouse gas emissions attributable to electric vehicles. 
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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