Electrify America Releases Cycle 2 National ZEV Investment Plan
Under the Volkswagen Diesel Settlement, VW must invest $2 Billion over 10 years in projects that support the increased use of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs), which are defined as battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). VW has created a separate entity within VW Group of America, known as Electrify America, LLC, to oversee the ZEV investment. The funding will be distributed over four, 30 month cycles:  $300 Million per cycle in the National ZEV Investment Plan with EPA oversight (totaling $1.2 Billion) and $200 Million per cycle in the California ZEV Investment Plan with California Air Resources Board (CARB) oversight (totaling $800 Million).
On February 7, 2019, Electrify America released its Cycle 2 National ZEV Investment Plan (covering the second of the four cycles, which will run from July 2019 to December 2021). The Plan details how Electrify America will invest $300 Million in Cycle 2 funds into charging infrastructure and consumer education—including in areas not previously addressed in Cycle 1, such as charging for autonomous vehicles as well as renewable power generation and battery storage for electric vehicle charging stations.
The Cycle 2 National ZEV Investment Plan outlines community charging infrastructure investments in 18 metropolitan areas and expands upon Cycle 1 investments in electric vehicle corridor charging along major highways. Several of these corridors run through Tennessee, including I-40, I-24, I-65, and I-75. Although neither the Cycle 1 nor Cycle 2 National ZEV Investment Plans promise specific infrastructure installations in Tennessee, a charging infrastructure map released as a supplement to the Cycle 2 National ZEV Investment Plan shows 10 station locations projected for placement within the state. Of those 10 stations, 6 are already online and operational (in Memphis, Clarksville, Nashville, Manchester, Cookeville, and Ooltewah). As stations become available, Electrify America updates a live map, which can be accessed here. Please note that stations that are in development but not yet operational are also included on this map.
The Cycle 2 Plan and other related documents can be found at TDEC submitted feedback to Electrify America in response to both the Cycle 1 and Cycle 2 solicitations for public comment, proposals, and recommendations. For more information on the Volkswagen Diesel Settlement in Tennessee, visit
Drive Electric Tennessee Releases Statewide Electric Vehicle Roadmap
Throughout 2018, a core team of stakeholders—including State agencies (TDEC and TDOT), electric utilities, cities, universities, electric vehicle manufacturers, businesses, and advocacy groups—worked together on the development of a shared vision for electric transportation in the state, which includes goals and guiding principles for increased electric vehicle adoption over the next 5-10 years. Together, these stakeholders comprise Drive Electric Tennessee, a statewide electric vehicle consortium organized by Navigant Consulting on behalf of the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Last month, Drive Electric Tennessee released the first edition of its Electric Vehicle Roadmap for the state. The Roadmap identifies projects and initiatives for local stakeholder implementation that will increase electric vehicle adoption across multiple Tennessee use cases and sectors. Click here to access the Roadmap. Contact to submit feedback or get involved.
I-24 Smart Corridor Project to Alleviate Nashville-Area Traffic
Over the next two years, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) will implement an I-24 Smart Corridor Project with the goal of improving travel times for drivers through both new construction and the adoption of innovative corridor technologies. As part of this project, TDOT will place 23 shoulder-mounted dynamic message signs along the corridor, which will provide detailed updates to drivers on topics related to speed, lane, or merge conditions ahead, and which will guide drivers to alternate routes, if necessary. TDOT will also upgrade and adjust traffic signals on connector routes to alleviate congestion in cases of vehicle incidents on I-24. Finally, TDOT will invest in additional communications technology that allows the agency to isolate points of congestion and disseminate tailored responses to these slowdowns. Real-time traffic updates will soon be delivered directly to cars, helping drivers plan around traffic and paving the way for the use of autonomous vehicles in the future. The project is set to break ground this month and is expected to be complete in two years. Most of the work will happen on shoulder lanes, minimizing the project’s effect on current traffic. Read more here.
U.S. DOE Initiatives to Promote Battery Recycling
Currently, lithium-ion batteries are collected and recycled at a rate of less than 5% across the U.S. To address this issue, U.S. DOE recently announced that it would launch a Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize as well as establish an associated Battery Recycling R&D Center at Argonne National Laboratory. These efforts aim to reclaim and recycle critical materials (e.g., cobalt and lithium) from lithium-based battery technology, which is used in consumer electronics, defense, energy storage, and transportation applications.
The Prize will encourage American entrepreneurs to find innovative solutions to collecting, storing, and transporting discarded lithium-ion batteries for eventual recycling, awarding a total of $5.5 million to contestants through three progressive, competitive phases. For additional information about the prize, visit U.S. DOE will also invest $15 million to develop the Battery Recycling Center, which will be focused on emerging technologies that profitably capture and recycle lithium-based battery technologies across the country. More information on both of these initiatives will be available soon.
VW to Produce EVs in Chattanooga
Prior to his departure from office in January, Gov. Haslam and the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development announced that Chattanooga will be home to Volkswagen’s first electric vehicle manufacturing facility in North America. The project represents an investment of $800 million by Volkswagen and the creation of 1,000 jobs in Hamilton County. “The shift toward electric vehicles is a trend that can be seen worldwide, and Volkswagen’s decision to locate its first North American EV manufacturing facility in Chattanooga underscores Tennessee’s manufacturing strength and highly-skilled workforce,” Haslam said. “As one of Hamilton County’s top employers, these additional 1,000 jobs will have a lasting impact on the region.” The first Volkswagen electric vehicle will roll out of the Chattanooga plant in 2022. For more information, click here.
TMA Group Named One of the Best Workplaces for Commuters in 2019
Best Workplaces for Commuters (BWC) is a membership program that provides qualified employers with national recognition and a designation for offering outstanding commuter benefits to their employees. To qualify, an employer must first offer at least one primary benefit, such as employer-paid, tax-free transit or vanpool passes; teleworking/telecommuting; or parking cash-out. An employer must also offer at least three secondary benefits, including but not limited to: shuttles to and from transit stations (provided directly by the employer or contracted through a service); rideshare or carpool matching; preferred or reduced-cost parking for carpools and vanpools; and compressed work schedules. Finally, an employer must also offer access to an Emergency Ride Home (ERH), which provides participants with a ride at little to no cost if they need emergency transport home due to special circumstances. Awarded employers include Google, Mayo Clinic, IBM, DaVita, Kimley-Horn, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), and more
BWC recently recognized The TMA Group of Franklin as one of the Best Workplaces for Commuters in 2018. The TMA Group is a regional leader in customizing environmentally friendly, multimodal transportation solutions for employers and communities. The Group operates and manages VanStar, the regional commuter vanpool service; Franklin’s public transit service on behalf of the Franklin Transit Authority; and the Clean Air Partnership program. As part of the company’s comprehensive commuter benefits program, The TMA Group offers commuting options and support services such as vanpool and/or carpool matching; a compressed workweek program; participation in a regional air quality program; and operation of Franklin’s small urban public transit service. The TMA Group programs reduce commuting costs not only for its employees, but for all commuters by taking cars off the road and reducing traffic congestion.
Nominations Open for 2019 Governor's Environmental Stewardshop Awards
TDEC is inviting Tennesseans to submit nominations for the 2019 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards, which honor outstanding accomplishments that support the protection and enhancement of Tennessee’s natural resources. “Being good stewards of our state’s resources is part of what makes Tennessee the beautiful and remarkable place it is,” Gov. Bill Lee said. “These awards help show that we all can do our part, and I can’t wait to see the potential solutions that individual Tennesseans come up with.”
Nominations are currently being accepted for the 2019 awards, which include the following categories: Building Green; Clean Air; Energy and Renewable Resources; Environmental Education and Outreach (for both school and non-school projects); Land Use; Materials Management; Natural Heritage; Sustainable Performance; and Lifetime Achievement. 
Alternative fuel vehicles and sustainable transportation projects could be eligible under several categories, including under Clean Air or Energy and Renewable Resources. Any individual, business, organization, educational institution, or agency is eligible for nomination, provided it is located in Tennessee and the project was completed during the 2018 calendar year. A panel of judges will select award recipients based on criteria including level of project or program completion, innovation, and public education. The deadline for nominations is April 30, and winners will be announced in June. Contact Kathy Glapa at (615) 253-8780 or with any questions.
Tennessee Green Fleets Certification Program Open for 2019
The Tennessee Green Fleets (TGF) program offers an opportunity for Tennessee fleets to receive certification for their transportation efficiency efforts. Organized by Tennessee Clean Fuels, TGF certification is based on an applicant’s vehicle data and fleet fuel use. The TGF program recognizes fleets based on actions taken to reduce petroleum consumption, lessen greenhouse gas emissions, and implement alternative fuel vehicles.
Applicants who receive certification will be honored at a special ceremony during the 2019 Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Forum and Expo. Applications for 2019 TGF certification are due by June 30. For more information about the program, visit
FTA Accepting Applications for Transit Bus Automation Strategic Partnerships
The U.S. Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is currently accepting applications for transit bus automation strategic partnerships. Up to $500,000 in federal funding will be awarded to eligible agencies and organizations to supplement transit bus automation research and to help disseminate research findings to the broader transit community. In order to be considered eligible for funding as a Strategic Partner, the agency must have a bus transit automation project that is at least Level 1 (Driver Assistance) according to the guidelines published by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). The agency’s transit bus automation project must either be in operation already or will be in operation within six months of when the FTA funding is awarded. The agency must commit to providing a 20% local match for the FTA funding that it is requesting. Eligible applicants under this notice are providers of public transportation, including public transportation agencies, state/local government DOTs, and federally recognized Indian tribes. Eligible applicants may team with eligible project partners, which may include, but are not limited to:
  • Private for-profit organizations, such as bus manufacturers, private operators of transportation service, technology system suppliers and integrators, automated vehicle technology providers, property managers and developers, and others;
  • Not-for-profit organizations;
  • State or local government entities, including multi-jurisdictional partnerships, and organizations such as a Metropolitan Planning Organization; or
  • Other organizations including consultants, research consortia or not-for-profit industry organizations, and institutions of higher education.
Applications are due March 1, 2019. Click here to learn more about eligibility and requirements.
DERA Clean Diesel National Grants
Each year, the U.S. EPA Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program allocates funds nationwide to implement projects aimed at reducing emissions from older diesel engines. In 2019, U.S. EPA anticipates awarding approximately $40 Million in DERA grant funding to eligible applicants across the country. The maximum amount of federal funding that may be requested per application varies by region. Tennessee applicants, in EPA Region 4, are eligible to request up to $2 Million in grant funds per project. Eligible applicants include:
  • Regional, State, local, or tribal agencies/consortia or port authorities with jurisdiction over transportation or air quality;
  • Nonprofit organizations or institutions that represent or provide pollution reduction or educational services to persons or organizations that own or operate diesel fleets or have the promotion of transportation or air quality as their principal purpose; and
  • School districts, municipalities, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), cities, and counties, to the extent that they fall within the bulleted definitions above.
Grant funds may be used for clean diesel projects such as EPA- and/or CARB-verified technologies or certified engine retrofits; idle-reduction technologies; aerodynamic technologies and low-rolling resistance tires; and engine, vehicle, or equipment replacements. Eligible diesel vehicles, engines, and equipment include school buses; class 5-8 heavy-duty highway vehicles; locomotive engines; marine engines; and nonroad equipment used in construction, handling of cargo, agriculture, mining, or energy production. Funds under this program cannot be used to fund emission reductions mandated by federal law.
Applications for the Clean Diesel National Grants are due to U.S. EPA by March 6, 2019 at 11:59 PM ET. To apply, visit For more information on the National Clean Diesel campaign, visit
2019 Tennessee Environmental Conference
The Tennessee Environmental Conference, now in its eighteenth year, will feature more than 40 presenters addressing the latest trends, practices, and policies aimed at preserving the state’s natural resources, balancing growth, improving human health, and protecting the environment. This year, the Central Appalachian Brownfield Innovation Network (CABIN) is partnering with the conference to provide a special brownfields development track. The conference will be hosted at the Meadowview Convention Center in Kingsport, TN from March 18-20, 2019. Click here to register.
Save the Date: TennSMART Spring Member Meeting
TennSMART is a public-private consortium designed to accelerate the development and deployment of new intelligent mobility innovations in Tennessee. It provides a collaborative forum for key stakeholders representing the automotive and trucking industries, local and State government (including TDEC OEP), and research institutions to address opportunities that no one organization could attain alone. TennSMART focuses on research related to connected and automated vehicles, electric vehicles, cybersecurity, freight efficiency, and multimodal commuting.
TennSMART has released a Save the Date for its Spring Member Meeting, which will take place on April 9, 2019 at the Tennessee Tower in downtown Nashville. More information about the event program and registration will be available soon at
Sign Up Now for the 2019 Commuter Challenge
Nashville Connector, Davidson County’s first transportation demand management program, seeks to help employers and employees in the Nashville region to plan for a better commute. The program assists individuals and companies alike in identifying bus, carpool, train, and walking/biking commuter options available to commuters in the Nashville area.
Recently, Nashville Connector announced that it will host its 2019 Commuter Challenge from April 27-May 3. As part of this challenge, Nashville’s downtown commuting participants can pledge to not drive alone for at least one trip to work during the week. To do this, commuters may carpool, ride a bike or scooter, take public transit, walk to work, or work from home. Click here to sign up as a company or as an individual for the 2019 Challenge. Registrants will receive a Challenge Guide and Tracking Template to help plan for the event. Awards will also be given to top participants. Learn more at
2019 Vehicle Buyer's Guides
2019 Fuel Economy Guide
Each year, U.S. DOE and U.S. EPA jointly publish a fuel economy guide, which offers data on current model year vehicles. The newly released 2019 Fuel Economy Guide provides fuel economy ratings for more than 1,000 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. The website also offers guidance on how consumers can achieve the best fuel economy possible from the cars they own.
ACEEE Releases GreenerCars Ratings
The American Council for Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recently released its 22nd GreenerCars ratings, which allow individuals to compare environmental information for 2000-2018 model year vehicles. As a part of these ratings, ACEEE released the 2019 Greenest List, which identifies the most environmentally friendly cars currently available. Each car is given a Green Score based on an environmental damage index, which reflects the cost to human health from air pollution associated with vehicle manufacturing, the production and distribution of fuel or electricity, and tailpipe emissions. All vehicles on the 2019 Greenest List are at least partially electrified, with the fully electric Hyundai Ioniq taking the top spot.
Study Identifies Challenges and Opportunities for Bike Share in Minority and Low-Income Communities
Northwestern University recently published a report exploring the factors that influence perceptions of bike share systems in different communities. The report highlights the importance of considering community context and history when planning and implementing policies that encourage active mobility. The findings suggest that underserved populations within diverse communities view active mobility simultaneously as a necessity and as a symbol of privilege that is sometimes at odds with the local culture. The analysis therefore expands on walking and cycling literature by providing novel insights regarding the perceived benefits of, and barriers to, equitable promotion of these modes.  
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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