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The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA) is the first organization to debut an all-electric shuttle bus in the state of Tennessee.

The project is hopeful to promote EV awareness in rural communities in order to reduce transportation costs and fossil fuel consumption.

The UCHRA offers a number of transportation services, and by acquiring an electric shuttle, not only will it decrease the number of fuel emissions, but electric vehicles offer noise reduction and comfort for passengers onboard.

UCHRA offers a variety of programs to low-income and vulnerable populations within the Upper Cumberland area, and the organization offers transportation to all 14 counties located within the region. By adopting an all-electric shuttle bus, UCHRA can continue providing safe transportation—but now with reduced fuel consumption and cleaner energy.

The shuttle bus was purchased as part of an initiative led by Tennessee Technological University and the US Department of Energy called, “Upper Cumberland EV Testbed.”

The project, led by Dr. Pingen Chen at Tennessee Tech, seeks to acquire widespread adoption of EVs to enhance economic growth, improve energy efficiency, and increase affordable transportation systems throughout the Upper Cumberland region.

The vehicle was manufactured by Phoenix Motorcars. Located in Anaheim, CA, Phoenix Motorcars is a leading manufacturer of all-electric buses and trucks and aims to be part of creating a greener future. The ADA-compliant vehicle provides 12+2 seats for passengers and can offer up to 130 electric miles per full charge with a 125-kWh battery pack. In addition, the vehicle is equipped with a 13-kW AC J1772 onboard charging system which can fully charge the vehicle within 10 hours, as well as a DC fast charging port which can fully charge the vehicle within 2-3 hours.

The best practice and benefits of operating and maintaining this electric shuttle bus in rural transit services will be shared with the rural communities and other rural transit agencies in other DOE-supported rural electrification projects across the Appalachian region. The vehicle was delivered to UCHRA on December 19, 2022.