Equipped with about 12 kilowatts' worth of solar panels and a battery array with about five kilowatt-hours of storage, the six-parking-spot station will be used to analyze the potential impact of electric vehicles on the electric grid as well as ways to supplement that power. It is the first of two such stations to be built in East Tennessee and will serve as a research prototype to model how electric cars can be juiced up when they're away from home.
The stations will go through three to six months of testing before a series of stations will be added in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville, bringing the total of charging spaces up to 125.
"We want to be the fuel that supplies electric cars," said Rudy Shankar, TVA vice president for technology innovation. But adding a new source of electric demand could affect the overall cost and availability of power, he said.
"We don't want to have any negative impact on the grid reliability," he said. "We don't want to have an impact on the ratepayers."
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