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East Tennessee Clean Fuels and industry partners kick off Equitable Mobility Powering Opportunities for Workplace Electrification Readiness (EMPOWER), Tennessee’s first and only equity-focused workplace charging program.

According to McKinsey & Company, electric vehicle (EV) sales in the United States have grown 40% since 2016. It’s more affordable than ever to buy an EV—they’re not just luxury vehicles anymore. However, charging infrastructure has lagged.

Most Americans cite charging and battery concerns as a reason for not switching to an electric car. Together with their partners, ETCF aims to fix this electric charging speed bump by providing workplaces across the state with up to $2,000 in free, direct technical assistance and consulting to help up to 24 workplaces install EV chargers.

From General Motors to Volkswagen, Nissan, and more, Tennessee is making its mark as an EV automotive industrial state. As federal, state, and regional investments continue to build toward an electric-fueled future, where to “plugin” is a topic most electric vehicle drivers are familiar with. Workplace charging (WPC) provides convenience for EV owners and, in some cases, is essential for commuters that do not have access to charging at home.

The EMPOWER TN project is catalyzing workplace charging adoption by connecting with workplaces statewide, reducing barriers through education and technical assistance, and creating a one-stop shop for helpful workplace-focused resources, such as funding opportunities that may offset the cost of purchase and installation.

ETCleanFuels, which is housed within the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment, is also partnering with local power companies, including the Knoxville Utilities Board, Brightridge, Electric Power Board of Chattanooga, Memphis Light Gas & Water, and the Tennessee Valley Authority to provide additional support and technical assistance for workplace EV charging, such as helping to determine the necessary electrical infrastructure, providing guidance on installation and permitting requirements, and providing information about rate options and incentives.

By bringing EVSE ports to work and where people are, EMPOWER TN is simplifying the transition to EVs and making charging convenient and easy, especially for those without access to chargers at home.

When estimates show that the workplace is the second-most frequently utilized charging location, EMPOWER TN is working to reduce barriers to these employees accessing EVs and the economic benefits of driving electric. As EV ownership expands and infrastructure matures, EMPOWER TN strives to ensure EVs are truly for everyone.

As a Justice40 initiative, one of EMPOWER TN’s specific goals is to ensure that of the EVSEs installed at workplaces, 40% will be installed at workplaces with historically underserved demographics. This includes workplaces owned by women or minorities, workplaces with majority-minority workforces, or with employees who live in areas that are rural, formerly redlined, low-income, or have low air quality.

A key component of EMPOWER TN is providing recognition for workplaces’ installations through various local and national channels. Success stories of partner workplaces will be shared to highlight sustainability leadership and encourage other employers to successfully install EV charging at their workplaces.

By bringing EV charging stations to workers at their workplace, workplaces simplify the transition to EVs and make charging easy, convenient and accessible. Employers are demonstrating their corporate leadership, enacting sustainability goals, and providing enhanced employee benefits.

ETCleanFuels is excited to launch its outreach efforts through the website www.workplacechargingtn.com which includes the new comprehensive Workplace Charging Guide that covers everything you’ll need to get started on a workplace charging plan at your business. On the website you will also find a short interest survey to get connected to EMPOWER TN staff.

Employers partnering with EMPOWER TN will receive support for their commitment to:

  • identifying EV charging demands at their workplace;
  • collaborating with ETCF to minimize barriers to employee charging;
  • publicly announcing support of workplace charging;
  • installing workplace charging; and,
  • sharing progress updates with ETCleanFuels.

EMPOWER TN aims to bring EV infrastructure to every Tennesseean—especially to historically marginalized, underserved and overburdened communities—to accelerate the United States federal target of net-zero emissions by 2050.

Want to get in touch with EMPOWER TN project leadership? Email darcy@etcleanfuels.org