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VOL. 126 | NO. 68 | Thursday, April 07, 2011

MLGW Unveils Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

By Bill Dries

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Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division officials Wednesday unveiled a set of 69 proposed sites for stations to charge electric vehicles.

The sites across Shelby County include seven Memphis public libraries as well as the Millington public library and seven MLGW facilities that would add the electric charging stations.

Corporate and commercial sites proposed and still tentative include FedEx corporate headquarters, FedEx Technology Center, Baptist Memorial Healthcare, The Peabody hotel, Saint Francis Hospital, Methodist Le Bonheur Health Care, several Malco movie theaters, Carrefour Center, Carrier Corp. in Collierville, Overton Square, Oak Court Mall/Laurelwood, Germantown Village Square shopping center, Exeter Village and Saddle Creek.

Other locations include the National Civil Rights Museum, Shelby Farms Park, Agricenter International, the Mississippi Greenbelt Park on Mud Island, Rhodes College and Christian Brothers University as well as Collierville High School, Tiger Lane at the Mid-South Fairgrounds, Hickory Ridge Mall and Memphis International Airport.

The charging stations would be provided to Shelby County through the EV Project, a state project in which ECOtality North American, a private company, provides the charging technology.

MGLW officials announced in February they intend to have 10 of the locations up and running by September as a first step toward a charging infrastructure in the state’s four major cities.

ECOtality has been seeking merchants to sign letters of intent to host one of the stations.

A charge to 80 percent of an electric car’s battery capacity would take about 26 minutes at one of the stations making it a different experience than going to a gasoline service station.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr., Germantown Mayor Sharon Goldsworthy, Collierville Mayor Stan Joyner and Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald were briefed Wednesday afternoon on the list of proposed sites.

"We'll have a total of 85 stations, around 50 of those will be commercial. The others will be residential," Wharton said, speaking of residential recharging stations that come with the new Nissan Leaf electric vehicles to be made in Tennessee starting next year.

The electric vehicle infrastructure to come is being funded by a $100 million federal grant as well as some private investment. 

"This is the study, This is not even phase one," Wharton said Wednesday evening. "And we want to get in on the study so Memphis can be a prototype for the permanent programs that come along."

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