Tennessee’s newest Direct Current Fast Charge (DCFC) station was activated yesterday in Baileyton and is now available to charge for those in need of some electric juice along the state’s I-81 Corridor. The new DCFC station, a partnership between Greeneville Light & Power System, Davy Crockett Travel Center and Seven States Power Corporation, can recharge a capable electric vehicle (EV) at up to 62.5kW and can be expanded to support up to four simultaneous vehicle charges as demand increases. The Baileyton DCFC station fills in an important gap in East Tennessee’s interstate electric vehicle corridor, bringing our state one step closer to complete DCFC coverage for residents and travelers.
“It’s a great location. There’s a lot of traffic that comes through here,” says Bill Carroll, Greeneville Light & Power’s CEO and the organization’s project leader. “It was a good cooperative effort between our partners.”
The project’s successful completion highlights the importance of engaging local stakeholders to help with decision-making and leadership on DCFC installations. Local oversight provides essential direction for a charging station’s location, permit development and local business commitment to maintain the equipment.
Bob Grubbs, general manager of Davy Crockett Travel Center, agrees and sees value for the community and for travelers passing through.
“We felt this was a unique opportunity to offer a great service to our customers and also be a part of the new wave of electric vehicles and electric charging,” Grubbs said. He said that the Travel Center has been operating in Baileyton for over 40 years.
“Our Center caters to both car and truck traffic and being able to charge vehicles here is now one of many services we offer to our customers,” Grubbs said.
To provide equipment and operational consulting on the installation, Greeneville Light & Power turned to Seven States Power Corporation, a partner it had worked with before to install Level 2 electric chargers in Greeneville.
“When Bill Carroll [of GLPS] came to me about DCFC installations, we were eager to get involved with him to help with product selection, acquisition, site selection and installation,” Brad Rains of Seven States Power Corporation said.
Rains agrees that projects like this work best when local stakeholders are engaged at every level.
“When you know the local people that own the facility, when you know the people who’ll provide the power locally, that’s what makes these sorts of projects happen,” Rains said. “It’s local people who care about their communities and want to see this sort of development come.”
The new DCFC station is significant not only because of the local collaboration that brought it to fruition but also because it fills out the I-81 / I-40 Corridor for EV drivers who travel between Knoxville and the Tri-Cities area.
One of the challenges for EV drivers is ensuring that there will be charging stations available when they are traveling longer distances along major US highway corridors. The new DCFC station at Davy Crockett Travel Center now ensures that drivers traveling along I-81 will be able access charging reliably.
Seven States Power Corporation joins other Tennessee organizations in developing corridor charging across the state. “There’s an ongoing effort that entities like Drive Electric Tennessee and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation are involved with to fill in what we’re loosely calling a ‘Fast 50’ plan, to have a DCFC charging station every 50 miles along Tennessee’s corridors,” Rains said. “This location fits the criteria almost perfectly.”
Drive Electric Tennessee (DriveElectricTN) is a statewide initiative involving dozens of local, state and national stakeholders that are working to see 200,000 EVs on Tennessee’s roads by 2028. A large piece of that puzzle is ensuring that there are adequate charging opportunities along corridors and within populated areas.
“We want to make sure that there is sufficient charging infrastructure across the entire state of Tennessee. This project in particular shows what can happen when a group of passionate local stakeholders can leverage the support of larger organizations and create these opportunities within their communities,” says Virginia Salazar Buda, DriveElectricTN’s coordinator. “I can’t begin to tell you how grateful we are to have partners like Seven States Power working to develop projects like these, not to mention the passionate and forward-thinking local organizations that are leading the charge to ensure that Tennessee is an electric transportation leader in the Southeastern USA.”
As of June 23, 2020, the station is live and able to provide DCFC charging to folks traveling along the I-81 Corridor. The charger itself is a part of the ChargePoint network and is now visible on the company’s map of available charging stations. The station has also been added to the US Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Station Locator and should be listed on PlugShare within the next few weeks.