Tennessee said it would develop a statewide network of EV fast charging stations. It’s added one in 2.5 years [update]

Will Blink Charging’s new partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) revive Tennessee’s stagnant Fast Charge TN Network plan?

September 11 update: A ChargePoint DC fast charging station came online last week in Brownsville, Tennessee, as part of TVA’s Fast Charge Network. Brownsville Mayor William Rawls said at the ribbon cutting that it was the only fast charger “located between Jackson and Memphis, Tennessee.” It’s 26 miles from Jackson to Brownsville and then around 60 miles from Brownsville to Memphis.

Additionally, Paris, Tennessee, is about to cut the ribbon on two DC fast chargers in town tomorrow morning at 109 S. Fentress, according to the TVA. Those chargers are also part of TVA’s regional Fast Charge Network and Fast Charge TN. In January, Rivian launched a Level 2 solar-powered charger in Paris.

Where’s the EV fast charging in Tennessee?

August 24: Miami Beach-based Blink (Nasdaq: BLNK) today announced a two-year contract with TVA, the US’s largest government-owned utility, to supply DC fast chargers and Level 2 chargers for both public and commercial use. (Blink doesn’t have an exclusive.)

The TVA, a federally owned corporation in the US created by congressional charter in 1933, is the country’s sixth-largest power provider. It serves 10 million customers in seven states. TVA is helping to fund and develop a public EV charger network across its seven-state service area.

The new agreement provides TVA with access to Blink’s Level 2 Series 7 charger, and its 50kW DC fast charger, 75kW DC fast charger, and 150kW DC fast charger. (The three DC Fast Chargers that Blink is providing, as part of the TVA contract, are third-party chargers, according to a Blink spokesperson.) 

On February 3, 2021, TVA and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation announced that they would jointly develop the “Fast Charge TN Network,” a statewide network of EV fast charging stations every 50 miles along Tennessee’s interstates and major highways.

Electrek’s Take

Overall, this is great, apart from the fact that we’re not sure how useful a 50 kW DC fast charger is going to be. But I wanted to see how TVA and Tennessee’s progression was going on its big “EV fast charging stations every 50 miles” plan, as I wrote about it in February 2021.

As of March 2023, according to the Tennessee government website, there are “only 25 DC fast charging locations currently operating” in the Fast Charge TN Network that are open to all consumers and support both charging standards common to EVs. The program plans to add “40 new [public] charging locations.”

TVA’s website states that it plans to install 50 DC fast chargers across Tennessee. Hmmm.

In 2021, Tennessee’s existing fast charging network was made up of 24 DC fast chargers. And the last press release posted on the TVA EV Initiative Press Kit website was in September 2022.

So… the state has added… one DC fast charger in 2.5 years. Why the snail’s pace, TVA and Tennessee?

A Tennessee state spokesperson told me in 2021 that it’s “aiming for completion in 2023-2024.” So it looks like Blink has its work cut out in the Volunteer State. Let’s hope this stagnating yet important program finally gains some momentum.

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