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Farragut EDC plugs into electric vehicles

Farragut has the opportunity to install infrastructure for electric cars at local businesses or public areas, Town staff reported to Farragut’s Economic Development Committee, Wednesday, March 2.

“Tennessee is one of five states that are getting federal money for this,” Town administrator David Smoak said.

“There is an opportunity for businesses to get free charging stations” for a limited time, he added.

Electric cars and plug-in hybrids, such as the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt, are being mass-released later this year. The federal and state governments are providing incentives, including tax breaks, to consumers who purchase them.

“West Knoxville and the town of Farragut are good demographics for these types of cars,” Smoak said.

Pamela Treacy, Campbell Station Wine & Spirits, agreed: “We could be in the forefront of this in Tennessee and that could be part of our brand.”

In November of last year, Cracker Barrel announced it would be placing electric vehicle charging stations at 24 of its stores in a triangle created between Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville. One of the sites for a charging station included Farragut’s Cracker Barrel off Campbell Station Road.

Smoak said while the cars weren’t readily available now, state and local Chambers of Commerce considered it important to have infrastructure in place so when the cars were on the road, the roads would be ready for them.

“That was exciting to hear,” Smoak said.

EDC members threw out several possible sites for charging stations, which are about as large as gas pumps and typically take about half an hour to give an 80 percent charge. Most electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids can run between 90 and 100 miles on a single charge.

Sites included Town Hall and businesses along major thoroughfares and destination areas such as Parkside Drive and Kingston Pike.

“A movie theater would be a great place to have one,” Treacy said, since the theater would provide something for drivers to do while waiting for their vehicles to charge.

Potential fees to use charging stations are still being discussed, Smoak said.

But he said the average cost for electricity used per mile in electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles came in around three cents.

In other business, EDC:

• Met in its new subcommittees — Relationships, Recruitment and Tourism and Events

• Discussed the EDC’s planned trip to International Council of Shopping Centers conference in Las Vegas, Nev., in May. The question of which members might attend the conference still seems to be up in the air, but almost certainly would include Alderman Bob Markli, associate Town administrator Gary Palmer, Turkey Creek Land Partners principal Jim Nixon and possibly Phil Dangel of The Shrimp Dock and David Purvis of Farragut Wine & Spirits. Dangel and Purvis have offered to pay their own way.


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