TDEC Launches Transit and Shuttle Bus Grant Program
On September 10, 2019, TDEC released its second solicitation for projects under the Volkswagen Diesel Settlement Environmental Mitigation Trust (VW Settlement EMT). The purpose of the EMT is to execute environmental mitigation projects that reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides. All terms that are both bolded and italicized below are defined in Appendix D-2 of the State Trust Agreement.
Under this solicitation, $16 million in EMT funding is available for eligible Class 4-8 Transit and Shuttle Bus projects. The grant program, managed by the TDEC Office of Energy Programs, will provide financial assistance to public, non-profit, and private fleets in Tennessee that apply to replace eligible Transit or Shuttle Buses with any new Alternate Fueled or All-Electric Transit or Shuttle Buses. Additionally, fleets may also apply to Repower Transit or Shuttle Buses with new All-Electric Transit or Shuttle Bus drivetrains.
Transit or Shuttle Buses eligible for replacement or Repower include 2009 engine model year or older Class 4-8 diesel buses used for transporting people. For purposes of this solicitation, “Transit Buses” shall include all vehicles that provide public transportation, which shall mean regular and continuing shared-ride surface transportation services that are open to the general public. “Shuttle Buses” shall include vehicles that provide transportation services for one or more specific entities, intra-terminal or intra-facility transportation services, or mobility-on-demand services.
Applications and supporting documentation must be submitted electronically via the online TDEC Grants Management System, which may be accessed here: Applications must be received by 4:00 PM CT on Nov. 19, 2019. TDEC will announce awards after conducting a comprehensive review and evaluation of all complete and eligible grant applications. Grant contracting efforts will occur shortly thereafter. For more information, click here: Transit and Shuttle Bus Grant Program.
For additional information on the VW Settlement, visit the TDEC website at and sign up for TDEC’s email list here.
Register Now for the 2019 Tennessee SustainableTransportation Forum & Expo
TDEC, TDOT, and Tennessee Clean Fuels will hold the fifth annual Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Forum & Expo (STF&E) on October 1-2 at the UT Conference Center in downtown Knoxville. The research, technology, planning, and policy developments shared at STF&E aim to improve transportation efficiency, reduce vehicle emissions, and address the mobility needs of all. Click here to see the full 2019 STF&E preliminary agenda.

In addition to the forum, STF&E provides the following offerings:
Registration is currently open at Registration is currently $45. Students may register for the event at a discounted rate of $5 and must present their student IDs at the time of event sign-in. For attendees that require overnight accommodations, hotel blocks are available at the Holiday Inn World's Fair Park (code: STR) and the Hilton Knoxville. These discounted rates will expire when the group blocks sell out, so be sure to book accommodations early. Visit for more information.
Awards Announced for 2019 Transportation Alternatives Program, 2020 Applications Currently Accepted
Earlier this month, Gov. Lee and TDOT announced more than $13 million in Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) grants statewide. These grants are aimed at revitalizing downtowns, highlighting historic areas, providing alternative means of transportation, and increasing opportunities for economic development. A variety of activities—such as the restoration of historic facilities, bike and pedestrian trails, landscaping and other non-traditional transportation projects, etc.—are eligible for grant funds under TAP. Click here to see the full list of recipients.
Applications for TAP are now being accepted for 2020. All local governmental agencies, including the Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville Metropolitan and/or Transportation Planning Organizations (MPOs/TPOs), may submit an application to the State competitive program. Contact your MPO/TPO for additional information and specific guidelines regarding regional competitive program schedules. Applications must be submitted to by October 3 at 3:00 PM CT. Click here to access the application materials and learn more.
Promoting Electric Vehicles in Tennessee
National Drive Electric Week (NDEW) is a nationwide celebration to heighten awareness of today’s electric vehicle availability and to highlight the benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric cars, trucks, motorcycles, and more. NDEW events were held from September 14-22 across the country, and several took place in Tennessee (including in Chattanooga, Memphis, Millington, and two in Knoxville).
This year, Nashville hosted its own NDEW event on September 22 at Nissan Stadium. This free event featured 20 passenger electric vehicles, a Proterra electric bus from WeGo, and electric bicycles from Pedego. Attendees were able to test drive several electric vehicles, provided by representatives from Freeland Chevrolet, Audi Nashville, Jaguar Land Rover Nashville, and Tesla. The event was organized by Drive Electric Nashville, a local group for electric vehicle owners and enthusiasts. Additional event supporters included Zero Logistics, LLC; Tennessee Clean Fuels; TDEC OEP; WeGo Public Transit; and Pedego. Click here to learn more about National Drive Electric Week.
Additionally, a team from E&E News made several recent pit stops in Tennessee as part of a 6,000 mile Electric Road Trip. As part of this road trip, nine reporters are taking several electric vehicle models across the country; along the way, these reporters will investigate how electric vehicles are being adopted in different regions and how this growing adoption can change the face of energy and transportation. In Tennessee, E&E reporters first met with city officials and local businesses in Memphis to discuss electric vehicle adoption by local residents, tourist destinations such as Elvis’s Graceland, and even commercial enterprises like FedEx, whose Memphis-based global logistics operation is experimenting with battery-powered transportation around the city. Next, the reporters explored Nissan’s Smyrna auto manufacturing plant, where the all-electric Nissan LEAF is made. Finally, E&E News headed to the VW Academy in Chattanooga, where they watched high school and college students learn to assemble cars and trucks, including electric vehicles. They also attended a lunch and learn at Green Spaces Chattanooga, during which Daniel Siksay of East Tennessee Clean Fuels debunked electric vehicle myths and discussed opportunities to curb petroleum consumption in the transportation sector. Click here to learn more about E&E News’s Electric Road Trip and where they will head next.
Local Motors Introduces Olli 2.0, an Autonomous 3D-Printed Shuttle
Local Motors recently introduced the second generation of its 3D-printed, electric, autonomous shuttle known as the Olli. Olli 2.0 is currently in production at the company’s microfactory in Knoxville and will be deployed in the coming months. The original Olli was first presented in 2016 as a low speed, on-demand, self-driving shuttle capable of transporting 12 passengers. The vehicle was equipped with 360 degree LiDAR scanners, which can sense the vehicle’s surroundings in all directions. As a result of 3D-printing, the vehicle could be customized for different environments and needs. Numerous road tests, including on the streets of Berlin in collaboration with Deutsche Bahn, have led to Olli’s recent deployment at the Sacramento State University campus.
As compared to its predecessor, Olli 2.0 can be made with 50% less moving parts and manual production hours. Olli 2.0 adds voice recognition and facial/mood tracking to increase the vehicle’s awareness of its passengers. The new shuttle can reach a maximum speed of 25 MPH and is designed for use in neighborhoods, on campuses, and in urban city centers as a smart, safe, sustainable transportation option. Read more about Olli 2.0 here.
REAP to Fund Rural Energy Projects
The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. This program helps improve American energy independence by both increasing the private sector supply of renewable energy and decreasing the demand for energy through energy efficiency improvements. Over time, these investments can also help lower energy costs for small businesses and agricultural producers. Funding for Fiscal Year 2020 is available in a variety of forms, each under its own application process and timeline. Grant applications are due October 31, 2019 and March 31, 2020. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round.

Funds may be used for renewable energy systems, such as biomass (biodiesel and ethanol, anaerobic digesters, and solid fuels); geothermal for electric generation or direct use; hydropower below 30 MW; hydrogen; small and large wind generation; small and large solar generation; and ocean (tidal, current, thermal) generation. With regard to transportation, REAP funds may be used for solar-assisted electric vehicle charging stations. Funds may also be used for the purchase, installation, and construction of energy efficiency improvements, such as high efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC); insulation; lighting; cooling or refrigeration units; doors and windows; electric, solar, or gravity pumps for sprinkler pivots; switching from a diesel to electric irrigation motor; and replacement of energy-inefficient equipment.

Click here to learn more and to apply for REAP financial assistance. Click here to find the REAP point of contact for your Tennessee region.
Inaugural TennSMART Industry Tour
On October 2, following the conclusion of the 2019 STF&E, TennSMART will host its inaugural Industry Tour at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Tour attendees will walk through ORNL’s National Transportation Research Center to learn about the lab’s transportation and mobility research; an afternoon networking reception will be held after the tour.
Due to security restrictions at ORNL’s facilities, attendees must provide their country of citizenship upon registration. Click here to learn more or register.
Run on Less Fuel Economy Demonstration
The North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) will hold a three-week Run on Less Regional event throughout October 2019. Run on Less Regional is a fuel economy demonstration for trucks that typically travel no more than 300 miles from their base. Participants will actively demonstrate a variety of commercially available freight efficiency technologies; provide real-time vehicle monitoring and reporting; and highlight emerging technologies, not yet commercially available, throughout the Run. Run on Less results will be published in a report in March 2020.

The 2019 event will feature the following 10 fleets operating in a variety of regional haul applications in different geographic and climate areas, including Tennessee: C&S Wholesale Grocers, Hirschbach, Hogan Transportation, J.B. Hunt, Meijer, PepsiCo, Ploger Transportation, Schneider, Southeastern Freight Lines, and UPS. Click here to learn more.
Run On Less video
TennSMART 2019 Fall Member Meeting
TennSMART will hold its 2019 Fall Member Meeting on November 5-6 at the FedEx Institute of Technology in Memphis. Attending TennSMART members will discuss the latest challenges and opportunities in intelligent mobility and will have the opportunity to network with peers and other stakeholders while exploring some of FedEx's latest freight technologies. Click here to register. Learn more about the event at
Emissions Benefits of Electric Vehicles for Uber, Lyft, Other TNCs
Integrating electric vehicles into transportation network company (TNC) fleets (e.g., Uber, Lyft, etc.) is a particularly promising way to realize the benefits of vehicle electrification. This is due to the greater vehicle miles traveled and passenger occupancy of TNC fleet vehicles. A recent report by the National Center for Sustainable Transportation and the UC-Davis Institute of Transportation Studies examines TNC use of electric vehicles between 2016-2018. Findings show that the emissions benefits of electrifying a vehicle in a TNC fleet are nearly three times greater than the benefits from electrifying a privately-owned vehicle. Click here to read the full report.
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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