SMART Sites To Provide Charging Stations For Electric Vehicles

Emmanuel P January 26, 2011

If it were possible to time travel an automobile user from the 50s or 60s to the upcoming terminal to be built in Tennessee, he would be bewildered by the fact that there were no gas pumps to fill up his car. Add to that the terminal’s futuristic design and he would probably think that modern conveyances were the stuff of science fiction.

In Knoxville, such a terminal is being built with the moniker of SMART, for Smart Modal Area Recharge Terminal. This site and its technology were created by the Electric Power Research Institute and the Tennessee Valley Authority. The proponents of the project hope that it will surpass all other similar projects in terms of efficiency and power. SMART was built to harness solar power to charge vehicle batteries, in the same way that today’s petrol-engined vehicles pull up to a gas pump to fill up with fuel. In this case, it will be solar power converted to electricity which will fill up an electric car’s batteries. Equipped with a storage system, the terminal would have 5 kilowatt-hours of power for each charging space, of which there will be 10.

“Electricity as a transportation fuel can benefit the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and it can save consumers money by lowering their driving costs. These all-in-one charging stations are important to the development of electric vehicles and also to TVA’s goal to provide cleaner, low-cost energy”, said the TVA senior vice president of Environment and Technology, Anda Ray.

The terminal will shortly undergo field trials of between three to six months duration, where TVA will asses the viability of installing more terminals. TVA’s goal is for Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville to provide 125 charging points between the SMART sites.

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