Several Chattanooga companies team up for an all-electric future
Have you thought about buying an electric car? While the internal-combustion engine still dominates the automotive landscape, the appeal of electric and plug-in hybrids continues to grow, with sales of new vehicles averaging around 10,000 a month in the U.S. Yet, even with greater choices of makes and models (and prices), electric vehicles still only account for just under three percent of market share of all vehicles.
The five most popular electric cars include the Nissan LEAF, with a newly available long-range battery allows you to travel up to 107 miles in a single charge; the Chevy Volt, which comes equipped with a gas-powered generator that continuously feeds the battery pack once the initial charge is depleted; the Tesla Model S, which can travel up to 300 miles on a full charge; the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, which can be recharged to 80 percent capacity in just 30 minutes; and the Ford Focus Electric, which has 143 horsepower on tap, making it just as quick as some gas-powered compacts.
One of the main drawbacks for consumers, however, is also one of the most obvious: where do you go to get juice when the battery runs low? Sure, you can plug it in at your home—and some friendly businesses will let you do it at work—but for most people, finding a charging station is pretty difficult.
Which is why it is welcome news to learn that CARTA, in partnership with TVA and EPB, has worked out an agreement with Green Commuter to build additional solar-assisted electric charging stations throughout the city. To date, there are approximately twenty electric vehicle charging locations in the city, with more under construction, which will be integrated into the EPB power grid.
But wait, as they say in commercials, there’s more. In addition, they are developing an electric vehicle car-sharing system. The goal is to get more Chattanoogans both behind the wheel of electric and plug-in hybrids, which will go a long way to reduce vehicle emissions on a sustained basis.
“We are excited to work with EPB, CARTA, and Green Commuter to bring solar-assisted electric charging stations and electric vehicle car sharing to Chattanooga,” said Cindy Herron, TVA vice president of EnergyRight Solutions. “Electric vehicles and solar-assisted vehicle charging maximizes the benefits of clean energy, reduces emissions and encourages solar power and electric transportation in Chattanooga.”
When the electric vehicle car-sharing system is fully operational, proponents of the project say it will achieve significant reduction of air pollution and traffic congestion and improve quality of life by offering safe, affordable and environmentally-friendly public transportation.
“Chattanoogans should be proud of this agreement because we are the first medium-size city in the nation to implement an electric vehicle car-sharing system to reduce emissions and traffic congestion,” said Brent Matthews, CARTA Director of Parking.
So while for the foreseeable future, the vast majority of us will still be making regular visits to the gas station, it likely won’t be too much longer before the internal-combustion engine vehicle will go the way of the horse-and-buggy.