The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation announced Wednesday it is partnering with electric vehicle automaker and automotive technology company Rivian to install Rivian Waypoint EV charging stations at Tennessee state parks.
The goal is to have charging stations available at all 56 state parks systemwide, depending on the availability of electricity and planned park upgrades.
“As Tennesseans increasingly rely on electric vehicles, our state parks can play a significant role to enable recreation in all corners of our state,” TDEC Commissioner David Salyers said. “TDEC is committed to clean air, and the shift toward electric vehicles is an excellent step forward for air quality.”
Rivian will oversee the design and installation of the Level 2 chargers, which are compatible with all EV models currently on the road. The open-network chargers can provide up to 11.5 kilowatts of power, enabling EV drivers to top up on miles while enjoying a day trip or an overnight campout. EV charging at Tennessee state parks will initially be free, and drivers will be able to easily monitor their vehicle’s charging session via the Rivian app. Any potential future cost to drivers may be dependent on systemwide utilization to recover electricity costs.
In addition to overseeing design and installation, Rivian will provide any necessary utility upgrades associated with the charger installation at no cost to the state or taxpayers. Rivian will also cover all network access fees, equipment service and maintenance for 10 years.
Under the estimated timeline, Rivian will begin site surveys and engineering over the summer, with installation beginning as early as fall 2021 and stretching into March 2022.
The agreement with Rivian is the latest development stemming from TDEC’s commitment to power the growth of EVs across Tennessee and reduce barriers to transportation electrification. Earlier this year, TDEC and the Tennessee Valley Authority announced a partnership to develop a statewide EV charging network that will provide fast-charging stations every 50 miles along Tennessee’s interstates and highways. The initiative is designed to add approximately 50 new fast-charging locations throughout the state.