Tennessee Receives Funding for Innovative Vehicle Technologies Projects
U.S. DOE recently announced $139 million in funding to support 55 innovative vehicle technologies projects. Seven of these projects will be led or supported by Tennessee-based organizations.
Improved Mobility, Affordability, and Energy Efficiency through Transit:
  • Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority will receive $1,750,155 to support the demonstration of an Artificial Intelligence engine that will optimize integrated service in mixed fleet transit operations.
Enabling Vehicle and Infrastructure Connectivity:
  • The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga will receive $1,893,168 to develop an energy-conscious traffic signal control system for optimized fuel consumption in connected vehicle environments.
Alternative Fuel Proof-of-Concept in New Communities and Fleets
  • Shelby County Government will receive $500,000 to support the electrification of five fleet vehicles in order to capture cost savings and climate benefits. The vehicles will be piloted by the County’s Roads, Bridges, and Engineering Department and will include a range of vehicle types, from heavy-duty trucks to light-duty vehicles. This project helps implement recommendations included within the recently completed Memphis Area Climate Action Plan, which outlines goals for reducing carbon emissions from local fleet vehicles through electrification. 
  • Tennessee Tech University (TTU) and the University of Texas at Austin will receive $1,000,000 to pilot medium-duty electric trucks in urban and regional applications. 
Technology Integration:
  • East Tennessee Clean Fuels and thirteen other Clean Cities coalitions will receive $1,801,697 to develop replicable, innovative outreach and education programs that support the adoption of electric vehicles.
  • The National Fire Protection Association will receive $678,087 to partner with the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition and other Clean Cities coalitions throughout the country to develop an electric vehicle preparedness toolkit and expanded online electric vehicle training course for nationwide, multi-disciplinary community outreach education.
Improved Efficiency of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Natural Gas and Propane Engines:
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory will receive $1,549,915 to develop a stoichiometric spark ignition propane engine with diesel efficiency parity.
Click here to view the full list of recipients under this award announcement.
Tennessee Tech Unveils New DC Fast Charging Unit in Cookeville
In July, TTU unveiled a new, public Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC) station that will serve electric vehicle drivers in the greater Cookeville area. This DCFC station was installed as part of TTU’s rural electric vehicle demonstration testbed project; in total, this project will result in the installation of nine electric vehicle charging stations throughout the Upper Cumberland region (one DCFC, the rest Level 2). TTU will use these new charging stations when carrying out fleet demonstrations for five new electric vehicles, including three passenger vehicles, one shuttle bus, and one medium-duty truck. Upon project completion, TTU will produce a “proof of concept roadmap” for how other regions can accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles and associated charging infrastructure in rural fleet applications. Click here to read more about the new charging station as well as recent project developments.
Vanderbilt University’s MoveVU Sustainable Transportation Program Receives Funding to Scale Up Activities
Vanderbilt University was recently awarded $8.4 million in Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) program funding from TDOT to support expansion of its MoveVU sustainable transportation program, which originally launched in 2018. The CMAQ funding will enable the implementation of several MoveVU-related initiatives over a three-year project period, including shuttle service and transit improvements, launch of a campus-wide bikeshare program, installation of traffic-detection technologies, adoption of data analytics to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of transportation system operations, and development of curbside management and micro-mobility policies and practices.
Nashville Mayor Evaluates New Transportation Plan
Nashville Mayor John Cooper is vetting a new countywide transportation plan valued at more than $1.5 billion to upgrade bus routes and stations, bikeways, and traffic infrastructure through 2030. Sidewalks, pothole repairs, street resurfacing, and traffic calming measures are also prioritized. Successful implementation of the plan would be contingent upon an ability to secure project support from more than 75 tailored funding streams including federal and State grants, tax revenues, and private developer contributions. Mayor's Office representatives are still in discussions with council members, regional transportation planners, and community stakeholders regarding the details of the plan and are currently evaluating the creation of a Nashville Department of Transportation to oversee the project. A final draft of the plan will be be presented to Metro Council later this year. Learn more here
Two Tennessee Projects Receive Funding for Hydrogen Advancement
U.S. DOE recently announced $64 million in funding to support 18 hydrogen projects under the H2@Scale vision, supporting affordable fuel production, storage, distribution, and use of hydrogen. Projects under this program will focus on the manufacturing of reliable and affordable electrolyzers; the development of low-cost, high-strength carbon fiber for hydrogen storage tanks; and the identification of durable and cost-effective fuel cell systems and components for medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Two Tennessee-based institutions were awarded funding for projects under this funding opportunity:
  • The University of Tennessee-Knoxville will receive $1,000,000 to create a systematic approach for developing durable, conductive membranes for heavy-duty vehicle applications.
  • Knoxville-based Collaborative Composite Solutions Corporation will receive $2,700,540 to develop a melt spun polyacrylonitrile precursor for cost-effective carbon fiber in high pressure compressed gas tanks.
Click here to view the full list of recipients under this award announcement.
High-Performance Composites Bridge Offers Sustainable Infrastructure Solution for Morgan County
Morgan County officials are partnering with private industry and with researchers from the University of Tennessee and the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation to install an affordable bridge replacement made of fiber-reinforced polymer composite materials, demonstrating a fast, easy, and sustainable solution for improving thousands of structurally deficient bridges scattered throughout rural U.S. counties. A damaged, decades-old concrete bridge located off of a narrow, rural road in Morgan County will soon be replaced with a low-cost, low-maintenance, technologically advanced composite bridge deck system, which is expected to have a life expectancy of 100 years. The fiber-reinforced polymer composite products in this bridge can be used in several other infrastructure and transportation applications as well, including highways, dams, railroads, semi-trailers, aircraft, waterfront structures, utility poles, and buildings. Click here to read more.
TDOT Transportation Alternatives Program
TDOT’s federally-funded Transportation Alternatives Program aims to assist communities across the state in efforts to revitalize downtown areas, highlight historic districts, provide alternative means of transportation, and increase opportunities for economic development. Since the program’s inception, TDOT has distributed $386 million to communities across Tennessee for eligible projects, including the construction of sidewalks or bike and pedestrian trails; restoration of historic facilities; landscaping; and other non-traditional transportation projects.
All local governmental agencies in Tennessee, including those within the Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville MPO/TPO planning areas, may submit an application to the program. Contact your MPO/TPO for additional information and specific guidelines regarding regional competitive program schedules. Full applications are due October 2, and can be completed through the State’s eGrants system. For more information on eligible projects and how to apply, see the program instruction booklet.
2020 Autogas Answers Virtual Events
The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) is now supporting virtual Autogas Answers events for 2020. These events aim to educate organizations on how they can reduce expenses over a vehicle’s lifetime by utilizing propane autogas as a transportation fuel. These virtual events provide an opportunity for fleet professionals to hear directly from other key influencers about propane autogas; the events also promote the commercialization of propane powered products for on-road applications (e.g., school buses, shuttles, delivery vehicles, and law enforcement vehicles) and off-road applications (e.g., forklifts, ground service equipment, and irrigation). Events will include an overview of available funding opportunities, such as the VW Settlement, that may assist in the purchase of autogas vehicles.
Hosts may include, but are not limited to, State or local government entities, environmental or sustainability organizations, and utilities. Virtual events will be held via 90-minute Zoom webinars and will be facilitated by a PERC representative; host organizations will receive $500 for their participation in the virtual event. For information on Autogas Answers events, see the event guidelines for local hosts here. Organizations interested in hosting a virtual Autogas Answers event should contact Greg Zilberfarb at
ACT Virtual 2020
This year’s Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo will transition to a virtual format by way of a four-month online education series, from August 18 through November 19. The ACT Expo highlights the latest vehicle technology and fueling infrastructure innovations that can help fleets achieve their economic and environmental sustainability goals. More than 130 industry leaders will share insights and ideas through keynote presentations, executive panels, and breakout sessions covering the trends, policies, and technologies driving the future of fleet transportation.

ACT Virtual 2020 will be divided into five modules, with each module featuring multiple events:
  • Module 1: The Main Stage
  • Module 2: Deep Dives on Battery Technology, Connected Tech, & Natural Gas
  • Module 3: Advanced Transportation Investor Summit
  • Module 4: Staying Plugged In: ACT’s Annual EV Charging Workshop
  • Module 5: Ultra Clean HD Vehicle Summit
View the full agenda for details on specific events and speakers. Click here for a full list of registration options.
Sustainable Fleet Technology Virtual Conference 2020
This year’s fourth annual Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference will be held in a virtual format as a series of webinars highlighting the leading edge of sustainable fleet practices and alternative fuel opportunities. Each session will feature expert speakers from across the U.S. discussing the latest opportunities for biofuel, electric, natural gas, and propane fuels and fueling, with a focus on data-driven decisions, tools, and technologies. Upcoming sessions include:
Registration for each session is available free of charge. Click on the links above to register for individual sessions.
U.S. DOE Webinar to Highlight New Transportation Annual Technology Baseline Website
U.S. DOE will host a webinar on August 27 at 12 PM Eastern to provide information on DOE’s new Transportation Annual Technology Baseline (ATB) website. This site builds on the Electricity ATB and provides a publicly accessible source of DOE technology data for current and potential future vehicles and fuels. Fuels and powertrains featured on the website include gasoline, natural gas, diesel, biofuels, battery electric, and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles.

Researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which developed the site in collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory, will provide an overview of the features and functions of the new site, including interactive charts on fuel economy, vehicle cost, levelized cost of driving, and emissions across powertrains. They will also discuss the available features concerning fuel price, well-to-tank, and well-to-wheels emissions data for select on-road vehicle, jet, and marine fuels. Click here to register.
TennSMART Virtual Member Meeting
TennSMART will host a virtual member meeting on August 27 at 1 PM Central featuring presentations from the following speakers:
  • Dr. Sabya Mishra, Associate Professor and Faudree Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Memphis, will highlight key findings from a statewide survey that measured Tennessee residents’ inclination to adopt connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) and will offer insights to enhance CAV adoption in Tennessee.
  • Dr. Airton Kohls, a Research Associate at the University of Tennessee’s Center for Transportation Research, will provide findings from the Autonomous Truck Mounted Attenuator (ATMA) system demonstration pilot, a TDOT project designed to better understand the relevance of autonomous vehicles to enhance safety in work zones in Tennessee.
Click here to register for this event.
Driving on Sunshine Virtual EV Ride and Drives
The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) is offering several virtual electric vehicle ride and drive events as part of its Driving on Sunshine campaign at the following dates and times:
  • August 28, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Eastern
  • September 27, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Eastern
  • September 30, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM Eastern
  • October 3, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Eastern
Each virtual ride and drive will discuss the benefits of driving electric and will include a live question and answer segment for attendees. For more information on SACE and its efforts to promote clean transportation throughout the Southeast, visit
Bicycle Ride Across Tennessee
More than 300 riders from 30 states participated in last year’s annual Bicycle Ride Across Tennessee (BRAT), during which participants traveled from one Tennessee State Park to another via Tennessee’s backroads. In 2020, BRAT will run will throughout September as a virtual event, to accommodate the health and safety of riders, rangers, and staff. The purpose of the Virtual BRAT is to promote bicycle riding across the state, both to support the adoption of active transportation as well as to encourage enjoyment of Tennessee’s natural areas. Participants in the Virtual BRAT will log their miles on the Love to Ride platform with a participant goal of 688 miles (the distance from Bristol to Memphis) biked by the end of the month. Participants will receive a number of BRAT rewards, including a jersey and t-shirt, access to trusted routes from past BRAT rides at multiple Tennessee State Parks, and eligibility for prizes throughout the month. Click here to register for the event, and connect with BRAT on their Facebook page.
Webinar: Electric Vehicles and Home Solar Stories
Electrify the South will host a webinar on September 15 from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Eastern titled, “Living and Driving on Sunshine: Electric Vehicles and Home Solar Stories.” The webinar will feature experts on combining residential solar power generation with electric vehicle ownership (solar+EV). The webinar will also feature personal accounts from solar+EV adopters on how these technologies have brought benefit to their lives and wallets. Click here to register.
Electric Vehicle Showcases: Consumer Experience and Acceptance
In 2016, U.S. DOE supported several electric vehicle showcases that provided hands-on consumer experiences at conveniently located, brand-neutral settings. The showcase organizers were required to survey their participants to gauge whether technology exposure via showcase increased the likelihood of electric vehicle adoption. Primary surveys were conducted immediately before and after the events. Questions covered topics including level of interest in electric vehicles, associated considerations affecting interest (e.g., charging availability, vehicle availability, etc.), and current vehicle habits. A follow-up questionnaire conducted months after the event captured how respondent sentiments may have changed and whether the respondent took any further action toward purchasing an electric vehicle following the event. A new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory summarizes results of over 9,000 responses collected through the pre-, post-, and follow-up surveys completed through September 2019.

Key findings include:
  • Respondents with firsthand exposure to electric vehicles were more likely to consider an electric vehicle purchase than those with no prior exposure.
  • Respondents that regularly passed charging stations were more likely to consider an electric vehicle purchase than those not aware of charging stations.
  • Respondents were more likely after events than before events to believe that electric vehicles were as good as, or better, than traditional gasoline vehicles.
Click here to read the full report.
TDEC Virtual Summer Camp: AFLEET Online Tool
As part of its Virtual Summer Camp series, TDEC released a video guide on using the Alternative Fuel Life-Cycle Environmental and Economic Transportation (AFLEET) Tool, developed by Argonne National Laboratory, to help viewers make more educated decisions about their vehicle refueling options. AFLEET uses vehicle data such as fuel efficiency, fuel and vehicle cost, fueling sources, and other metrics to evaluate the anticipated petroleum use, greenhouse gas emissions, air pollutant emissions, and simple payback of alternative fuel vehicle adoption, as compared to the operation of legacy gasoline and diesel vehicles. Click here to see TDEC’s video on the tool.
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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