Tennessee to Lead “DRIVE Electric USA” Initiative
This year, East Tennessee Clean Fuels and Clean Fuels Ohio partnered to receive over $1.8 million in U.S. DOE funding to significantly advance electric vehicle adoption within their jurisdictions. The two coalitions have since brought together 12 other states into a single initiative—now known as DRIVE Electric USA—that will share ideas and develop plans for electric vehicle education and deployment over the next three years.
In addition to accelerating electric vehicle adoption, project partners seek to eliminate electric vehicle market barriers and create a “Replication Playbook” that other states can use for their own electric vehicle adoption programs. Project activities, outputs, and outcomes are built on seven distinct priority areas of focused work, which involve education, engagement, infrastructure planning, and more. To learn more about this project and its goals, visit
Tennessee Tech University Driving EV Innovation in Rural Communities
Mechanical engineering students and faculty at Tennessee Tech University (TTU) are at the forefront of an effort to explore electric vehicles’ potential to improve life in rural areas. Situated in the Upper Cumberland region of Tennessee, the university and its new vehicle engineering program is uniquely positioned to research the benefits that electric vehicles and associated charging infrastructure can bring to a rural community. This past October, TTU held an Electric Vehicle Ride & Drive event at Cumberland Mountain State Park, which allowed Upper Cumberland residents to learn about the benefits of electric vehicles as well as how to charge and maintain them.
TTU’s electric vehicle demonstration testbed project, funded by U.S. DOE, aims to have broad implications for other rural and economically distressed areas of the country. The project saw major developments in November with the opening of several public Level 2 charging stations in Lafayette, Carthage, Livingston, Spencer, and Smithville, in addition to the previously installed DC fast charging station in Cookeville. Through the proof-of-concept demonstration, the project seeks to accelerate electric vehicle adoption and awareness in rural fleets and communities, reduce transportation cost and fossil fuel consumption in rural areas, and boost economic development throughout the region.
Nashville’s Earth Rides Aims to Become Leader in the EV Rideshare Industry
Earth Rides, a new Nashville start-up, has committed to using clean energy and 100% electric vehicles for operation of their local ridesharing fleet. After testing their rideshare model earlier this year, Earth Rides officially launched in October with a focus on providing fair wages to its employees as well as customer prices that make their fleet’s zero emission technologies accessible to all. The company currently operates exclusively in Nashville, with plans to expand their services to other cities in the future, including Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Miami. Their business model allows customers to affordably move around Davidson County without the emissions of a conventional vehicle. Through its expansion and penetration of the rideshare market, Earth Rides aims to promote community health through air quality improvements and normalization of electric vehicles. Visit to learn more or download their ridesharing app.
U.S. DOE Announces FY2021 Funding Opportunity for Vehicle Technologies Research
U.S. DOE recently published a $60 million funding opportunity announcement (FOA) that seeks research projects to address the following vehicle technologies areas: batteries and electrification; materials; technology integration and energy efficient mobility systems; energy-efficient commercial off-road vehicle technologies; and co-optimized advanced engine and fuel technologies to improve fuel economy. Detailed technical descriptions of the specific areas of interest (AOI) are provided below:
  • Next-generation Liquid Electrolytes for Li-ion Cells Under Extreme Conditions
  • Liquid Electrolytes for Li-S Cells Introduction
  • Development of State-of-the-art Lithium Sulfur and Lithium Air Battery Cells
  • High Power Density Inverters
  • Integrated Simulation of Combustion and Aftertreatment - Optimizing for Near-Zero Emissions (ISCA-ONE)
  • Demonstration of Lightweight Multi-Material Glider System
  • Low-cost Infrastructure-based Enablers for Cooperative Driving Automation
  • Implementation of Energy Efficient Mobility Systems Technologies into Real-World System Applications
  • Transportation and Energy Analysis
U.S. DOE anticipates making approximately 20 to 32 awards under this FOA; individual awards may vary between $300,000 and $5,750,000, depending on the AOI selected. Concept papers are due February 5 with full applications due April 7. To read the full FOA, click here. To learn more about this funding opportunity, click here.
TIFIA Rural Project Initiative
U.S. DOT’s Rural Project Initiative (RPI) is an effort focused on making Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) financing more accessible to smaller, rural communities. Under RPI, entities in qualified rural areas with an eligible surface transportation project between $10 million and $100 million in cost may receive significant savings over traditional TIFIA loans and other commercial financing products, including loans for up to 49% of a project’s eligible costs and fixed interest rates equal to one half of the U.S. Treasury rate of equivalent maturity at the time of closing. Eligible projects include roads, bridges, and tunnels; transit systems including infrastructure, bus and train stations, and buses and passenger rail vehicles; intermodal connectors; pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure; freight transfer facilities; sea and inland waterway ports; and airports. To learn more about eligibility for RPI financing, see the FAQ here or contact the Build America Bureau at
Webinar: Autonomous Vehicle Technology
Kentucky Clean Fuels and Tennessee Clean Fuels (TCF) will co-host a webinar on December 15 at 3:00 PM Eastern that covers autonomous vehicle technology. Attendees will learn about this technology from industry experts including David Fish of Local Motors and Robb Jenkins of Beep. Local Motors will also share information on the Olli, their state-of-the-art all-electric autonomous shuttle. Click here to register.
Autogas Answers Virtual Event
Tennessee Clean Fuels (TCF) and the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) will hold a virtual Autogas Answers event on December 16 from 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM Central. This event will aim to educate organizations on how they can reduce both fuel and maintenance expenses over a vehicle’s lifetime by utilizing propane autogas as a transportation fuel. It will provide an opportunity for fleet professionals to hear directly from Tennessee fleets currently utilizing propane autogas as well as from propane infrastructure and fuel providers. The event will also include a discussion of available funding opportunities that may assist in offsetting the incremental purchase cost of autogas vehicles.
Speakers for this event include:
  • Stephen Whaley, Director of Autogas Business Development, PERC
  • Candace Long, Director of Transportation, First Tennessee Human Resources Agency
  • Billy Moon, Transportation Supervisor, Grundy County Department of Education
  • Happy Fox, Alternative Fuel Consultant, Alliance Autogas
Click here to view the full agenda. Click here to register.
SMART Mobility Consortium Webinar Series
U.S. DOE is hosting 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 final webinar, “Evaluating EV Charging Infrastructure Needs in a SMART Mobility System”, will take place on December 17 at 3:00 PM Eastern. For the full list of presenters and to view recordings of previous webinars, see the full webinar series schedule here.
Tennessee Virtual EV Ride and Drive Event
Tennessee Clean Fuels and Drive Electric Tennessee are partnering with Electrify the South, a program of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, to host a virtual Electric Vehicle Ride and Drive event on January 12 from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM Eastern. This event will allow participants to virtually experience a ride in an electric vehicle and learn about vehicle ownership, operation, charging, and other personal and community benefits of transportation electrification. Click here to register.
TRB 100th Annual Meeting
The Transportation Research Board (TRB) will hold its 100th Annual Meeting in a virtual format in January, with a theme of “Launching a New Century of Mobility and Quality of Life.” The event will cover all transportation modes, with more than 3,500 presentations in more than 400 sessions addressing a wide range of topics for attendees such as policy makers, administrators, practitioners, researchers, and representatives in government, industry, and academia.

The meeting will include specific sessions on COVID-19, including on how to prepare for the next global pandemic, supply chain disruptions, mobility changes, and the repurposing of urban streets. Other Spotlight Sessions will focus on equity and other multimodal issues. Click here to register for this event.
2021 Fuel Economy Guide
U.S. DOE and U.S. EPA recently published the 2021 Fuel Economy Guide, an annually updated resource that provides fuel economy ratings for more than 1,000 types of light-duty vehicles. More information on vehicle efficiency can be found at, a federal government website that helps consumers make informed fuel economy choices when purchasing a new vehicle and achieve the best fuel economy possible for the cars they currently own.
NREL EV Infrastructure Projection Lite Tool
As electric vehicles continue to grow in popularity, utilities and community planners are increasingly focused on building resilient energy systems that can support the added electricity load needed for electric vehicle charging. To support that effort, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has expanded its Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Projection (EVI-Pro) Lite tool with more analytic capabilities. This tool allows users to estimate how many and what kind of chargers a city, region, or state may need to support an influx of electric vehicles, as well as predict how this added electric vehicle charging will impact electricity demand in the area at any given time. Click here to read more about the tool as well as its capabilities and recent updates.
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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