September 28, 2022

‘A lot of misconceptions’ | UT electric vehicle summit organizer hopes to address concerns over technology

The director of UT’s Center for Transportation Research said he thinks Tennessee has been proactive in promoting electric vehicles.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee – In early November, the University of Tennessee will host an event where people can learn about the technology behind electric cars and alternative fuels – the DriveElectricTN Momentum Summit.

It will focus on transportation electrification efforts and will include sessions on community outreach, electric vehicle infrastructure, policies and programs, and technology innovations to continue to improve electric vehicles.

“I think the state of Tennessee has been very proactive in promoting electric vehicles and one of the reasons for that is, first of all, I think our ecosystem between UT and Oak Ridge National Lab that we have here in eastern Tennessee,” said Kevin Heaslip, director of UT’s Center for Transportation Research.

He also said that one of the reasons he thinks Tennessee is proactive in promoting electric vehicles is the variety of ways it gets electricity. The state relies on a variety of different types of electricity generation such as hydroelectric, solar, and nuclear power.

Heaslip also said the event will help address social justice issues involving electric vehicles. Specifically, he said he hoped the event would answer questions about the impact that income, location, occupation and other social factors might have on people as the world shifts to electric vehicles.

“As we all know electric vehicles are premium vehicles. Right now there aren’t a lot of low-end vehicles. So I think people have a very important right to say: “Will it only be for the rich? ?'” he said. “Certainly, we want to be able to make the benefits flow to many different populations, not just the highest income bracket.”

He said he expects as more electric vehicles are produced, their price will come down. He also said he hopes the event will address some misconceptions he’s heard about electric vehicles.

“I was out for dinner one night and someone said, ‘It costs $150 to charge a vehicle. I said, ‘Well, no. It costs $10 to charge my vehicle, that’s a lot less than gas,’ he said. “We need to understand what these vehicles can do, what they can’t do, what the costs are and what is the cost to buy – but also what is the cost to maintain and operate and those , really, and where we see the benefits of electric vehicles.”

The top will be start November 7 and until November 9. Several events are planned during this time, including award ceremonies and receptions to network with leaders working to improve electric vehicles.