Electric Vehicle Manufacturing in Tennessee
Governor Bill Lee and Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe announced that Ultium Cells LLC, a joint venture of LG Energy Solution and General Motors (GM), will invest more than $2.3 billion to build a new battery cell manufacturing plant in Spring Hill. The new 2.8 million square foot plant will create 1,300 manufacturing jobs and is scheduled to open for operation in late 2023. The new plant will supply battery cells to GM’s Spring Hill automotive assembly plant. In October 2020, GM announced it would invest $2 billion in the Spring Hill assembly plant to transition it to become the company’s third electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing site and the first outside of the state of Michigan.
Additionally, emerging EV manufacturer Mullen Technologies, Inc. has announced that it will invest more than $336 million to initiate operations in an existing manufacturing space in Memphis. In the coming months, the company will renovate and outfit the facility with the necessary infrastructure and machinery to produce 100,000 EVs over a five-year period beginning at the end of 2023. Mullen Technologies anticipates that the project will create approximately 800 jobs in the area.
These developments bolster Tennessee’s leadership within the EV manufacturing sector. With more than $5.1 billion in capital investment from EV projects since 2017, Tennessee claims 40% of all EV manufacturing industry investment and job creation in the Southeast region and produces more EVs annually than any other Southeastern state. Click here to learn more about EV production in Tennessee.
Tennessee Entities Receive Funding for Healthy Built Environments
The Tennessee Department of Health has announced $863,000 for 14 recipients under this year’s Healthy Built Environments Grants program, which funds a diverse set of initiatives that promote a healthy built environment (e.g., projects that promote walking, biking, and other active transportation or health-related activities). Example projects include the planning and construction of infrastructure such as walking tracks, bike lanes, greenways, trails, and other publicly accessible spaces that can promote mobility. Selected recipients include the Town of Stanton, which will conduct a needs assessment to create a more walkable and bikeable community, as well as Walk Bike Nashville, which will conduct a pedestrian safety assessment and create a safety plan for Dickerson Pike in Nashville. Click here to learn more about this funding program.
Autonomous Electric Shuttle Approved for Testing in Knox County 
Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs has granted Knoxville-based manufacturer Local Motors a vehicle tag for its autonomous electric shuttle, Olli, allowing the vehicle to operate on Valley Vista Road in Knox County for testing purposes. This first-of-its-kind project for Knox County allows Olli to learn in mixed-traffic settings under the supervision of a certified safety attendant. Along with closed-course and simulation-based testing, this real-world driving will enable the collection of data that can be used to improve the vehicle’s safety and performance. As autonomous public transport improves in safety and reliability, it has the potential to increase clean and accessible mobility options and contribute to transportation demand management practices. Click here to learn more about Olli. 
Drive Electric Earth Day with Race Car Driver Leilani Münter
Drive Electric Earth Day is a national campaign to share information about EVs throughout the month of April, promoting the benefits of EVs through both in-person and virtual events nationwide. To celebrate, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and the Natural Resources Defense Council will host a Virtual Earth Week EV Ride & Drive event on April 24 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM Eastern. This virtual event will feature special guest race car driver and environmental activist Leilani Münter. Attendees will experience a demonstration of Münter's own EV and hear her reasons for why she's an advocate for electric transportation powered by clean energy. The demonstration will be followed by a live Q&A session to address questions posed by attendees. Click here to register.
Webinar: Diverse, Innovative EV Applications for Your Fleet
The commercial availability of EVs is expanding for diverse fleet applications, including for work trucks of various sizes, street sweepers, and school buses. Drive Electric Tennessee and the Québec Government Office in Atlanta will host a webinar on April 28 at 11:00 AM Eastern to present four Québec-based EV industry pioneers that offer a range of mobility and charging solutions for fleets, municipalities, and communities in both urban and rural environments. Attendees will hear directly from company representatives on how EVs can be applied to a diverse set of use cases and how they can be beneficial to fleet owners and operators looking to reduce costs and meet sustainability goals. Click here to register.
U.S. DOE Announces $61 Million for Biofuels Research to Reduce Transportation Emissions
U.S. DOE has announced more than $61 million for technologies and processes that produce low-cost, low-carbon biofuels. This “Bioenergy Technologies Office Scale-Up and Conversion” Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) supports high-impact biotechnology research, development, and demonstration to bolster the body of scientific and engineering knowledge needed to produce low-carbon biofuels at lower cost.
Topic areas include scale-up of biotechnologies; affordable, clean cellulosic sugars for high yield conversion; separations to enable biomass conversion; residential wood heaters; and renewable natural gas. Concept papers are due April 30 at 5:00 PM Eastern, and full applications are due June 21 at 5:00 PM Eastern. Click here to view the full FOA.
U.S. DOE Announces $62 Million for Low Greenhouse Gas Vehicle Technologies Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment
U.S. DOE has announced more than $62 million to fund low greenhouse gas vehicle technologies research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities that will support the federal government-wide approach to the climate crisis by driving innovation in the transportation sector that can lead to the deployment of clean energy technologies. This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) seeks projects across the following Topic Areas:
  • 1. Electric Vehicle Charging Community Partner Projects
  • 2. Electric Vehicle Workplace Charging
  • 3. Reducing the Cost of DC Fast Charging Equipment
  • 4a. Research to Transform the Efficiency of Off-Road Vehicles
  • 4b. Electrified Construction Vehicle Research, Development, and Validation
  • 5. Natural Gas Enabling Technologies
  • 6. Dimethyl Ether and Propane Engine Enabling Technologies
  • 7. Integrated Hybrid System with Opposed Piston 2-Stroke
  • 8. Natural Gas Vehicle Technology Proof of Concept
U.S. DOE anticipates making approximately 17 to 35 awards under this FOA of amounts ranging between $500,000 and $6,666,667, depending on the Topic Area, for periods of performance of 24-48 months. Concept papers are due May 13 at 5:00 PM Eastern, and full applications are due July 12 at 5:00 PM Eastern. Click here to view the full FOA.
U.S. DOE, EPA: All-Electric Vehicles Have the Lowest Estimated Annual Fuel Cost of All Light-Duty Vehicles
According to U.S. DOE and U.S. EPA, the estimated annual fuel costs for model year 2021 all-electric light-duty vehicles are the lowest of all available vehicle technologies, while plug-in hybrid electric vehicles show the second-lowest annual fuel costs. Using a regular gasoline price of $2.39 and an electricity price of $0.13 per kWh, the agencies’ website shows that, while the annual fuel costs for gasoline light-duty vehicle models ranges from $1,050-$4,900, annual fuel costs for all-electric models ranges from just $500-$850. Click here to see more weekly transportation facts from U.S. DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy or subscribe to its Transportation Fact of the Week newsletter.
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