By: Caleb Powell
Tennessee is home to three major vehicle assembly plants and over 900 automotive suppliers, making it the main hub of the South’s automotive sector. General Motors, Nissan, and Volkswagen have been located in our state for many years, investing billions into the economy and creating more jobs. The industry is evolving faster than ever before and making the movement from combustion engines to electric vehicles (EVs), is a change that reduces emissions that contributes to climate change, and improves public health. Being able to adapt to trends throughout the automotive industry itself is one of the specialties of these Tennessee manufacturers. Tennessee is already the top manufacturer of EVs in the Southeast, producing more than 16,000 vehicles per year. By being proactive and investigating new technologies, these companies have put Tennessee at the forefront of this vehicle manufacturing evolution.
General Motors has announced a $2 billion dollar investment into the Spring Hill facility to build fully electric vehicles including the luxury Cadillac LYRIQ. Through a joint venture with battery partner LG Chem Ltd., they are planning to build a new plant on land leased from GM, named Ultium Cells. Volkswagen has begun expanding its Chattanooga factory to build a North American center for EVs – not only for assembly, but for engineering the EVs of the future. To power those efforts, Volkswagen‘s Engineering and Planning Center in Chattanooga will soon feature a unique, state-of-the-art high-voltage laboratory designed to develop and test EV cells and battery packs for upcoming models assembled in the United States.
The nation’s largest public utility, the Tennessee Valley Authority, is working with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the Tennessee Department of Transportation to develop a statewide system of public EV charging stations that officials say will make the state a leader in electric transportation. The charging network is expected to include about 50 stations, primarily along interstates and U.S. and state highways. The idea is to have chargers available at least every 50 miles with a goal to complete the project in the next five years. As the industry grows and EVs become more prevalent, building out the infrastructure to accommodate more EVs on the road. You can learn more about it here.
In the very near future Tennesseans should be able to purchase EVs manufactured in Tennessee and travel throughout the state with easy access to a vast charging network.
ToDey, we don’t all have access to electric vehicles, but maybe Tomorrow we will! If you’re ready to electrify your home with clean energy, check out our blog about the easiest way to get started.