December 2009

It's Electric

It’s December 2009, and James Ellis has one thing on his mind: 2010. Why? Because 2010 means electric vehicles will finally be a reality in the Tennessee Valley.

By the end of 2010, these vehicles won’t be found only at large corporations or research labs. They’ll be available for purchase by the public and seen on highways and in parking garages in Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga.

electric car charging station

All this is part of the largest electric-transportation project in U.S. history, and TVA is a project partner, working with the Electric Transportation Engineering Corp., or eTec, and Nissan. The e-Tech corporation has a $99.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for the work. Additional partners include other utilities, national laboratories, state and city government and private industry.

Nissan is providing the vehicles — fullsize, full-speed Nissan LEAF sedans — for the project. According to Ellis, electric transportation program manager in Environmental Policy, Science & Technology, the LEAF has the potential to revolutionize how Americans travel to work, school and home.

“The LEAF is a battery electric car with zero tailpipe emissions,” says Ellis. “It has room for five passengers, can run up to a range of 100 miles on a full charge, and while we don’t know the price yet, we suspect it will be an affordable option for many people.” Those interested in purchasing a LEAF also may be eligible for tax credits from the Internal Revenue Service.

nissan leaf

Best of all, fuel for the LEAF is the most affordable, reliable power source in the southeast — TVA electricity. TVA is researching the impacts of electric vehicles on the power system and working with power distributors to support and serve customers with these vehicles.

“To participate or learn more about this project and the Nissan LEAF, visit the following Web sites:

The Electric Vehicle Project:

Nissan Motor Corp.:




TVA testing plug-in hybrid electric vehicles

James Ellis, program manager in Environmental Policy, Science & Technology, and Amy Arnold-Martin, program manager in Government & Valley Relations, are among those evaluating TVA plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or PHEVs. Five Ford Escape PHEVs, which use electric and gas systems, are being tested to show how their charging affects the power grid and to track reductions in carbon-dioxide emissions.

plug in hybrid