Monday, September 27, 2010

Bad News and Good News

First, the bad. On Sunday the Commercial Appeal reported that Memphis (and all of West Tennessee) was left out of a plan to create a $230 million charging network being deployed to support the first all-electric cars hitting showrooms late this year.

BUT the good news is, today they Commercial Appeal reports that Mayor Wharton is fighting back.

Wharton: Memphis will fight exclusion from Tennessee's electric-vehicle project

Memphis will fight a plan that leaves it out of state plans to create charging stations for all-electric cars.

“We’re going to seek to correct that,” says Memphis Mayor A C Wharton.

West and northeast Tennessee aren’t included in a plan to establish 2,500 residential and commercial charging stations in and between Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga.

Federal dollars totaling $115 million are partly financing the five-state, $230 million EV (electric vehicle) Project.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a partner in state project, and Wharton points out that the city-owned utility, Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division, is TVA’s largest customer.

While Memphis can’t control the decisions by private companies involved in the project, “to the degree the TVA — Light, Gas & Water is TVA’s largest customer — to the degree TVA (is involved), I’m not going to accept that,” Wharton says.

“But at the same time we’re not going to sit around crying in our milk.”

Last month, Wharton and suburban mayors from the region gathered to promote Mid-South CHARGE (Council to Help Advance the Regional Growth of Electrification).

The region hopes to be selected as one of 15 demonstration areas nationally for a different electric vehicle initiative that Congress is considering.

Memphis will be involved with facilities for electric vehicles “maybe by two sources,” Wharton says.

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