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Ad space usage temporarily pulls Town car charger plug


Farragut’s plan to install electric car charging stations in its parks is seemingly on hold.

“Right now we are at somewhat of an impasse,” acknowledged Town associate administrator Gary Palmer in an e-mail.

The impasse largely revolves around an issue with advertising on ECOtality units, which were planned for placement at Town Hall and three Town parks: Mayor Bob Leonard, McFee and Campbell Station.

“There are some contractual issues which cause the attorneys some trepidation, and some physical issues with the unit itself. There is some language in the contract that allows, or would seem to allow, ECOtality to advertise on each unit. 

“At this point we aren’t comfortable with that language,” Palmer said.


Palmer has passed along the contract to Town attorney Tom Hale, who has aligned himself with attorneys for the City of Knoxville — which also is considering installing ECOtality charging stations — in an effort to answer lingering questions.

Among those questions:

• What type of advertising would be featured?

• Would it be audible or a type of roll screen?

• Who would be selling the advertising?

• Would ECOtality be making money off the advertisements?

“The Town, or at least Tom Hale and I (and the City of Knoxville) would like ECOtality’s proposal for any advertising clearly spelled out through contract terms so they can be properly considered,” Palmer said.

ECOtality is receiving funding from the Department of Energy to do a pilot study on electric vehicle charging stations, and Tennessee was selected as one of six test states. ECOtality is using the testing program to collect information regarding charge times and rates of usage, among other things, for the DOE.

Palmer said ECOtality seemed to be ignoring requests for clarification on just what type of advertising would be included with the EV charging stations.

“Tom Hale and the City of Knoxville law department have been trying to confer with ECOtality’s legal team so they ... can come to an agreement, but allegedly are being blocked in some fashion from advancing that conference,” he said.

“The Town doesn’t object to the concept of advertising. 

“The Town ... would like ECOtality’s proposal for any advertising clearly spelled out through contract terms so they can be properly considered,” he added.

Palmer said there could be legal or even ethical implications to private advertising on public property, such as Town parks.

“But we simply do not have enough information to research the issue,” Palmer said.

 

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