Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Signed Into Law
On November 15, 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law H.R. 3684, the “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” which reauthorizes surface transportation programs for five years (through Fiscal Year 2026); provides for a one-time transfer of funds from the General Fund into the Highway Trust Fund; authorizes programs for water, energy, and broadband infrastructure; and provides emergency supplemental appropriations.
The White House has compiled a fact sheet stating that this legislation will:                             
  • Deliver clean water to all American families and eliminate the nation’s lead service lines.
  • Ensure every American has access to reliable high-speed internet.  
  • Repair and rebuild U.S. roads and bridges with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety for all users. 
  • Improve transportation options for millions of Americans and reduce greenhouse emissions through the largest investment in public transit in U.S. history. 
  • Upgrade the nation’s airports and ports to strengthen U.S. supply chains and prevent disruptions that have caused inflation. 
  • Make the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak.
  • Build a national network of electric vehicle (EV) chargers, in addition to bolstering other alternative fueling networks (e.g., propane, compressed and liquefied natural gas, hydrogen) along major U.S. interstates and highways.
  • Upgrade U.S. power infrastructure to deliver clean, reliable energy across the country and deploy cutting-edge energy technology to achieve a zero-emissions future.  
  • Make U.S. infrastructure resilient against the impacts of climate change, cyber-attacks, and extreme weather events. 
  • Deliver the largest investment in tackling legacy pollution in American history by cleaning up Superfund and brownfield sites, reclaiming abandoned mines, and capping orphaned oil and gas wells.
Click here to read more.
Tennessee Tech Receives Funding to Build EV Ecosystem in Rural Appalachia
U.S. DOE recently announced the awarding of nearly $200 million to fund 25 projects aimed at improving the nation’s EV charging infrastructure and putting cleaner cars and trucks on America’s roads, including long-haul trucks powered by batteries and fuel cells. Included in this total is $71 million for the Vehicle Technologies Office Low Greenhouse Gas (GHG) funding opportunity, which will invest in projects that create solutions for reducing emissions from on- and off-road vehicles and accelerating the expansion of EV charging infrastructure.

Under the Electric Vehicle Charging Community Partner Projects Area of Interest of this Low GHG opportunity, Tennessee Tech University (TTU) was selected to receive $4,012,930 for its newest EV project, “Rural Reimagined: Building an EV Ecosystem and Green Economy for Transforming Lives in Economically Distressed Appalachia.” The project aims to overcome barriers faced by low-income communities that struggle with the transition to EV adoption and clean energy, including lack of infrastructure, low EV awareness, and limited-to-no-access to EVs. TTU will work with project partners including other academic institutions, Clean Cities Coalitions, private companies, transit agencies, local governments, local power companies, and more to build the underpinnings of a comprehensive EV ecosystem and green economy in the most economically distressed areas throughout the Appalachian region. The project will provide clean and affordable mobility options to underserved communities by developing infrastructure, demonstrating various cost-effective EVs in diverse applications, and creating EV outreach, training, and education opportunities for residents and local leaders.

Click here to see the full list of selected projects.
Volkswagen, ORNL, UT-Knoxville Expand Collaboration to Support EVs
Volkswagen Group of America’s Innovation Hub Knoxville, the company’s technology unit for applied materials science that launched in 2020, has expanded its research collaboration with ORNL and UT-Knoxville to explore the integration of breakthroughs in material science and recycling concepts to support electric mobility and sustainable transportation. The expanded collaboration will involve the testing of ORNL’s high-power wireless EV charging systems with the commercially-available light-duty Porsche Taycan.
The interdisciplinary teams have worked to develop and begin testing this wireless charging technology with a goal of developing higher-powered EV chargers with breakthrough designs that focus electromagnetic waves to eliminate interference and increase efficiency. The prototype system has shown a high level of efficiency so far, with up to 98% of energy used reaching the vehicle battery. The system has also seen an increase in power levels from 6.6 kW to 120 kW, with an end goal of 300 kW—enough to provide 80% of a Taycan’s charge in 10 minutes. Volkswagen, ORNL, and UT-Knoxville aim to generate new insights into the technological and physical hurdles of high-power wireless charging for automobiles.
Other research projects at Volkswagen’s Innovation Hub Knoxville focus on advanced functional materials, including composite car body parts and plant-based materials for future interior designs. The team is also working on new recycling concepts for materials conventionally deemed non-recyclable, such as fiber reinforced composites. Click here to learn more about Volkswagen’s innovation research.
ORNL Receives Funding for Projects to Advance EV Battery Research
U.S. DOE recently announced $209 million in funding for 26 laboratory projects focused on EVs, advanced batteries, and connected vehicles. As the U.S. currently relies heavily on importing advanced battery components from abroad, which exposes the nation to supply chain vulnerabilities that threaten to disrupt the availability and cost of these technologies, the selected projects will address critical goals including reducing cost and size of next generation battery technologies, advancing extreme fast charging, mitigating potential grid impacts of EV charging, and streamlining cooperative vehicle-to-vehicle communications and controls that reduce energy use and emissions.

ORNL, one of the 17 eligible U.S. DOE National Laboratories and a leader in EV advancements and research, was selected to receive funding for the following five projects:
Substituted Argyrodite Solid Electrolytes and High Capacity Conversion Cathodes for All-Solid-State Batteries
  • Polymer Electrolytes for Stable Low Impedance Solid State Battery Interfaces
  • Precision Control of the Lithium (Li) Surface for Solid State Batteries
  • Li Halide-Based Superionic Solid Electrolytes and High Voltage Cathode Interfaces
  • Integrated Electrolyte Development and Electrode Engineering to Enable Fast Charging of High Energy Density Li-ion Cells
  • A Cooperative Driving Automation (CDA) Framework for Developing Communication Requirements of Energy Centric CDA Applications
Additionally, ORNL will partner with six other National Laboratories on a project titled, “EVs@Scale Lab Consortium,” which will address technical barriers to widescale EV adoption and integration with the grid. Click here to see the full list of selected projects.
Coming Soon: Diesel Emissions Reduction Act Funding for Vehicle Replacements, Upgrades
TDEC and the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition will soon begin accepting applications for the FY2021-2022 Reducing Diesel Emissions for a Healthier Tennessee (RDE4HT) funding program, supported by an award under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (U.S. EPA) State Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program. A full description of the application timeline, due dates, and other details will be made available when the application is released. Visit for the most up-to-date program information.
The RDE4HT Program will fund several general categories of projects in this funding round:
  • The replacement of eligible, older diesel medium-duty (MD) and heavy-duty (HD) vehicles with new, cleaner vehicles. Propane, compressed natural gas, electric, and new diesel vehicles will be eligible as replacements, and proposed replacements with alternative fueled vehicles will be prioritized during application evaluation.
  • The conversion of eligible diesel MD and HD vehicles to run on alternative fuels.
  • The adoption of U.S. EPA-verified hybrid and/or idle-reduction technologies.
  • The installation and use of idle-reduction measures, including truck stop electrification (TSE) HVAC and/or plug-in equipment and/or electrified transport refrigeration units (eTRUs) for freight and cargo delivery trailers.
Please note that U.S. EPA has made several recent changes to the State DERA program, impacting certain project eligibility measures in this year’s RDE4HT funding opportunity. Applicants for FY2021-22 RDE4HT funding must now provide documentation and verification to prove the following for eligible vehicle replacement and upgrade projects:
  • The existing diesel vehicle proposed for replacement or upgrade is fully operational;
  • The existing diesel vehicle has at least three years of remaining useful life at the time of replacement or upgrade;
  • The existing diesel vehicle was owned and operated by the applicant for at least two years prior to replacement or upgrade; and
  • The existing diesel vehicle traveled at least 7,000 miles per year during the two years prior to replacement or upgrade. (School buses may use mileage from calendar year 2019 to meet this vehicle mileage requirement.)
Please contact Jonathan Overly at 865-974-3625 or for more information.
Chattanooga Green Prix
Chattanooga-based green|spaces will hold its annual Chattanooga Green Prix from November 19-20 at The Bend on Riverfront Parkway. Initially piloted in 2017 with eight local elementary, middle, and high schools, the event now features 45 local schools that have constructed GreenPower USA all-electric race cars for a two-day event of racing, live music, presentations, and EV demonstrations by EPB of Chattanooga.
Webinar: EPA Smartway Technologies and Success Stories
As part of the Sustainable Fleet Technology Webinar Series 2021, the NC Clean Energy Technology Center will host a webinar called “EPA Smartway Technologies and Success Stories” on December 2 from 1:00 PM-2:30 PM Central. The Smartway program is a voluntary public-private partnership between U.S. EPA and the freight industry with an objective to reduce freight’s environmental impacts and provide the industry with tools that would help mitigate the risks of rising energy costs. The webinar will offer attendees the opportunity to learn about the benefits and impacts of the U.S. EPA Smartway program as well as hear best practices from some of its highest performing fleet members. Click here to register.
2022 Fuel Economy Guide
U.S. DOE and U.S. EPA recently published the 2022 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.
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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