Electric vehicle charging station coming to campus

(iStock Photo)

Vanderbilt University has teamed with the Electric Power Research Institute and the Tennessee Valley Authority to build an integrated solar-assisted electric vehicle charging station on campus.

Known as a Smart Modal Area Recharge Terminal, or TVA SMART™ station, the facility will be part of a research project designed to produce data that will assist in developing a larger infrastructure to support electric vehicles throughout the state. The station will provide information on energy usage, the time when the equipment is used, the amount of solar-generated electricity produced and stored, and the potential impact of load clusters – when several vehicles are refueled at the same time – on distribution system reliability. Nashville Electric Service is the primary distributor in the project.

Up to 10 cars will be able to charge at the station, which will be located off Broadway in a Vanderbilt parking lot between The Center building and the Vanderbilt Law School.

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The Vanderbilt and Nashville communities will be able to use the facility at a cost of $1 per half hour. The cost will cover parking and use of the charging stations.

“The station will be a great resource for the Vanderbilt and local communities. We are pleased to play a part in helping Nashville and the region become ‘greener,’” Cliff Joyner, Vanderbilt assistant vice chancellor, said.

The station is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2012. Its design and construction will be completed under the auspices of the EPRI in consultation with TVA, which is funding the project that is patterned after similar facilities at EPRI’s Knoxville Laboratory and the Oak Ridge Laboratory.

“The Vanderbilt facility advances TVA’s efforts to make Tennessee plug-in ready for buyers of electric vehicles,” said James Ellis, senior manager for transportation and infrastructure at TVA. “It is a major step in realizing a regional system of clean fuel for electric vehicles.”

TVA is taking an aggressive approach in embracing electric vehicle technology including the design, development and assessment of state-of-the-art fully integrated electric-vehicle charging stations.

The facility will be compliant with safety and technical standards set by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), by using a standard plug, and the Infrastructure Working Council, an EPRI collaborative of utilities, automakers and vendors working toward a seamless transition to electric transportation.

“EPRI is excited to be involved in a project that combines a renewable energy source with battery storage and vehicle charging. We expect these technologies to find wider deployment in the coming years and this system gives us a hands on opportunity to study their use and impact,” John Halliwell, senior project manager with EPRI, said.

As part of this EPRI/TVA project, additional charging stations will be built in Chattanooga and Memphis.

The SMART stations supplement the EV Project and other initiatives related to developing electric vehicle infrastructure in the region. The project is managed by ECOtality North America, and a number of partners, including the U.S. Department of Energy; the state of Tennessee; TVA; EPRI; ORNL; the cities of Knoxville, Chattanooga, Memphis, Nashville and regional utility partners.