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MLGW is supporting the Electric Vehicle EVolution!

The electric vehicle (EV) industry has experienced numerous starts, when it seemed that EVs were on the brink of becoming significant players in the transportation market, only to have consumer and manufacturer interest wane. The 2020s are changing all that so now is the time to learn more about electric vehicle options to consider for your next automotive purchase!

As of 3/31/2024, there were 4,656 electric vehicles (battery as well as plug-in electric hybrids) registered in Shelby County, which is a 40% increase in the last 12 months. Auto manufacturers — especially in the light-duty car, truck and SUV segment — have announced billions of dollars in investments to re-tool or build new factories to increase the number and variety of EVs available. With numerous models today and scores more in development, EV options include compact cars, mid-size sedans, luxury sports cars, nimble crossovers, spacious SUVs and equipped pick-ups.

While the leading EV brand makes up 55% of local EV registrations, Shelby Countians have purchased models from 39 different manufacturers, so you’ll see a variety of electric vehicles on local roadways. New and used EVs are available in a range of price points to meet diverse buyer needs. These are all signs that EVs have arrived as major players in the automotive market, with sales expected to skyrocket this decade.

Members of Drive Electric TN (DET) — an organization that includes the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), TVA , numerous utility companies (including MLGW), universities, auto manufacturers, EV charging companies, EV enthusiasts and others interested in the EV field — have joined together with the common goal of reaching 200,000 EVs on Tennessee roads by 2028 .  (There are 39,353 EVs registered in Tennessee as of 3/31/2024.)

To achieve that goal, DET members are focusing on initial obstacles such as consumer awareness of EV benefits and charging infrastructure availability.  The following bullets summarize key activities by MLGW, TVA, DET and other organizations.

EV Awareness 

  • MLGW is educating customers about EVs through this webpage, other website content and various public presentations. 
    • Plugging into Electric Vehicles, a 90-minute recording of the virtual customer meeting held 8/26/2021.
    • Community Forum about EV Charging, an event on 5/24/2023 which included presentations, brainstorming about potential locations for future Level 2 and DC Fast Chargers, and a Ride & Drive event with multiple crossover vehicles, a sedan and a pick-up truck. 
    • Driving EV Leadership, a workshop for fleet operators on 5/25/2023, which included presentations followed by an EV Auto Show featuring an electric Class 8 tractor and two electric step vans (package delivery vehicles), plus pick-up trucks, crossover vehicles and sedans. Thanks to all the dealers, TVA and others who provided EVs!
    • Electric Vehicles and Fleets  section of Business Energy Advisor, focuses on fleets but contains links to great resources that can help all vehicle owners evaluate the benefits of EVs before making their next vehicle purchase.
  • MLGW partners with TVA and other local power companies across the Tennessee Valley to offer the EnergyRight  program, which features EV information as well as incentives for qualified energy efficiency improvements at your home or business. With great graphics, the EV section  offers easy-to-understand information on electric vehicle purchase, maintenance, charging and more.  Check out the new Driving EVolution blog , featuring short, informative posts with links to help you learn more about how an EV can fit into your lifestyle.
  • TVA filmed a great video series, In Charge:  Life with an Electric Vehicle, with drivers demonstrating the speed and agility of today’s EVs while discussing cost savings, cargo capacity, charging and other features that make EVs
    not only cool technology but viable options for your next vehicle purchase. Look for some familiar locations in the Memphis/West Tennessee episode filmed in 2022.
  • Tennessee now has a Drive Electric license plate with a portion of proceeds supporting DET's work. Look for the specialty plate option when it's time to renew your vehicle registration.
  • MLGW worked with local EV owners and enthusiasts to create the Drive Electric Memphis chapter to increase awareness through communications and events, including future Ride and Drive opportunities. Our first event was held at Shelby Farms Park on 4/20/2024, attracting 30 EV owners of 10 different vehicle makes and models.  The group chatted with scores of attendees, some of whom got to ride in an EV.  Email to learn about chapter activities and help plan upcoming events. 
  • MLGW is assisting fleet owners in planning for EV fleet adoption, including sharing available grant opportunities, handling new service requests to accommodate onsite EV charging infrastructure and evaluating companies’ long-term plans to ensure the electric system will be ready to support massive new electric loads.
  • Federal tax credits exist for the purchase of qualified electric vehicles and charging equipment, under the Inflation Reduction Act passed by Congress in August 2022. Details vary so check the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website and be sure to consult your tax advisor:
EV Charging Infrastructure
  • MLGW has been involved in public-access EV charging for over a decade. MLGW hosts a public-access Level 2 charger on the second floor of its Beale Street Landing parking garage, located at the corner of South Front Street and Dr. M.L.K. Jr. Avenue; helped Shelby Farms Park install Level 2 chargers in 2012 through a grant from TVA and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI); and assisted dozens of businesses in installing Level 2 chargers during the federally funded EV Project.
  • MLGW is helping companies site Level 2 and DC Fast Chargers for public-access charging. Although an estimated 80% of personal EV charging occurs at home (often by connecting the Level 1 charging cable that came with the vehicle to an existing 120-volt outlet in garage or carport), there are more than 234 public-access charging sites in Shelby County (up 43% from April 2021) and the number continues to grow. You can find charging locations on numerous websites such as PlugShare , ChargeHub and EnergyRight  as well as with mobile apps, many mapping websites — and the onboard display in most EVs. 
  • MLGW offers access to Level 2 charger ratings and retailers through the EnergyRight Marketplace .  Models have Enervee efficiency scores ranging from 71 to 100, so you can evaluate energy efficiency along with other factors if looking to install Level 2 equipment for faster charging at home or work.
  • MLGW is assisting local school districts seeking funding from the EPA Clean School Bus Program to add electric buses and other low-emission models to their fleets or the fleets of transportation vendors.
  • MLGW joined DET partners in creating the Multifamily EV Charging Infrastructure Guide to help property developers, owners and managers understand the benefits and options for installing EV chargers in their communities.
  • MLGW joined several other utilities and the Tennessee Clean Fuels coalition to launch the EMPOWER TN workplace charging program , which provides up to $2,000 in free technical assistance and consulting to businesses/organizations interested in installing EV charging at the workplace.  An acronym for Equitable Mobility Powering Opportunities for Workplace Electrification Readiness, EMPOWER TN can assist participants to educate stakeholders, quantify needs, understand available technology and identify potential funding sources.  Participants’ experiences are promoted to recognize successes and encourage other employers to install charging at their workplace.  (Workplace charging can be a free amenity or can include payment transactions, depending on business model.)
  • TDEC and TVA announced grants available to local electric utilities to create the Fast Charge TN Network, with public-access DC Fast Chargers located at least every 50 miles along interstates and major highway across the state.   TDEC awarded MLGW funding to install, own and operate DC Fast Chargers at two locations in Shelby County—filling gaps in the I-40/I-69 corridor (downtown/medical center) and the I-269 corridor in Collierville. MLGW has released a Request for Proposals for a turnkey solution to provide engineering, procurement and construction services. Expect to hear more about these projects in 2024-2025.
  • Meanwhile, many electric vehicle manufacturers are switching from Combined Charging Standard (CCS) fast charging port to the previously proprietary Tesla port design (now called the North American Charging Standard, NACS) beginning with 2025 models.  Track announcementsThe Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) published its Technical Information Report in December 2023, bringing what is called the SAE Standard J3400 closer to release late this year. 
  • Many businesses are announcing plans to create or expand EV charging installations, including seven auto manufacturers who plan to develop their own joint charging network in 2024.
  • New federal money has flowed to the state to fund the Tennessee Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (TEVI) deployment plan, which opened a funding opportunity in August 2023 for private businesses, governments and non-profit organizations to install DC Fast Chargers to fill remaining gaps along designated interstates and highways.  Awardees included one application for a DC Fast Charger site on Highway 64 in Lakeland. 

Interested in Transportation Tips of the Week? The U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office studies topics related to transportation energy use and publishes a weekly fact, often related to EVs.  See examples below that answer common EV-related questions and click here to find more.

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* Service interval varies by powertrain.

Note: LDV = light-duty vehicle.

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