Grant to help fund three new EV fast charge stations in Northeast Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — New electric vehicle fast-charging stations are coming to three Northeast Tennessee Interstate exits — two south of Johnson City on I-26 and one near Fall Branch on I-81.

The stations, which the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) said it hopes to see active within two years, are partly funded by a federal grant, according to a TDOT news release.

<strong><em>A map showing the locations of where Tennessee Department of Transportation grant-funded fast EV chargers will go. (WJHL Photo)</em></strong>
A map showing the locations of where Tennessee Department of Transportation grant-funded fast EV chargers will go. (WJHL Photo)

The grant is providing $21 million in the current Tennessee funding round, which will see a total of 30 stations installed. The grantees are kicking in an average of 33% of the cost.

The new stations will be at:

  • A BP convenience store (Ken-Jo Markets) at 3211 S. Roan St. in Johnson City, just off Exit 27 of Interstate 26.

  • A Shell-branded Mr. Zip station at 2004 Temple Hill Road in Erwin, just off Exit 40 of Interstate 26.

  • A Marathon station at 700 Jearoldstown Road, Greeneville, just off Exit 44 of Interstate 81.

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Each station must have a minimum of four charging points and be within one mile of the interstate to qualify. EV fast-charging stations, also known as Level 3 chargers, typically have a minimum power output of 50 kilowatts and can often deliver more than 100kw. They’ll typically deliver 60% additional charge to a standard EV in 15 to 40 minutes depending on the charger, the car and other factors.

The selected locations were designed to fill gaps along the state’s “Alternative Fuel Corridors” (AFCs), where the state wants EV drivers to be able to easily travel long distances.

TDOT Commissioner Butch Eley said in a release that “Tennessee is investing in its future and paving the way to lead the nation as an EV epicenter. We want to ensure that drivers in any vehicle can safely get across the state from Mountain City to Memphis.”

A 2023 study from SmartAsset ranked states as of 2022 in terms of per capita EV fast-charging stations. Tennessee, which had 264 stations, ranked 45th per capita. Its 12.8% growth from the previous year tied with Minnesota for 40th.

The Erwin project has a total cost of $846,045, with a 31% private share from the grantee, “Energy Hunters.” The South Johnson City project will cost $980,785, with a 35% private share from grantee BP Products North America. The Jearoldstown Road station’s cost of $859,310 is getting 20% of its funding from the grantee, Blink.

TDOT will work with the grantees over the next year to get help getting their projects started.

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