The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) made it official today, it will partner with electric truck startup Rivian to install Rivian Waypoint EV charging stations at Tennessee State Parks.
TDEC notes that it's a goal to eventually have charging stations in all 56 parks. However, details will depend on the availability of electricity in certain areas, as well as potential park upgrades in the future. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee shared:
“Tennessee is at the forefront of innovation and infrastructure development, and we're committed to the future of the automotive industry. This collaboration will support Tennessee jobs and enhance our already unmatched state parks.”
David Salyers, the commissioner of the TDEC, said that Tennesse residents will increasingly rely on EVs. The state's parks offer outdoor recreation for residents and visitors. It only makes sense to install charging stations in the parks. Moreover, choosing Rivian as a partner is almost a no-brainer since the company has put a major emphasis on "adventure vehicles."
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According to executive vice president of Energy and Charging Solutions at Rivian, Matt Horton:
“Tennessee’s State Parks will be home to some of our very first Rivian Waypoints and at the forefront of our plan to provide accessible EV charging to those adventuring in America’s most beautifully preserved environments."
The charging points will be Level 2 chargers, so they'll be compatible with most EVs on the road today. And, the network will be open to all EV drivers. Charging will be free as well, at least initially. If the park system has to add a fee in the future, it will only be to recoup the money paid for the cost of the electricity.
Rivian will oversee the design and installation of the chargers. In addition, the automaker will work to handle future upgrades at no cost to Tennessee or its taxpayers. Installations could begin as early as fall 2021, and may be completed by March 2022.
Rivian just delayed the first deliveries of its R1T electric pickup truck to September 2021.
Photo credit: Rivian, Eric Ryan Anderson.
Note: Location pictured is illustrative – specific Rivian Waypoint locations are still being determined.