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Electric charging station grant in works
Electric Charging Station Grant.jpg
Industrial Development Board executive director Don Alexander informs officials that plans are underway to secure a grant to train students to install and maintain electric charging stations for cars.

Electric vehicles will soon be common in Warren County, if things go according to plan. 

Industrial Development Board executive director Don Alexander reported at the county’s Economic and Agricultural Development Committee meeting Monday night the community is working on getting a grant that will help maintain electric cars in the future.

“We are as a community working on a grant through Tennessee Valley Authority with the intent of training students to maintain and install the charging stations for the electric vehicles that we all know are coming,” said Alexander.

He said McMinnville is getting prepared not only to have electric cars, but to have people able to fix and install the charging stations for them.

“Our community is taking a step even further out there and saying somebody is going to have to install the charging stations and maintain them after they have been there,” said Alexander. “The electric vehicles are not going to run forever, so we have gone ahead and taken that step forward and it’s been pretty exciting.”

According to Alexander, this idea has been received well by major manufacturers. TCAT will be handling this program if the grant is received, but the plan is to include Motlow State Community College too.

“Time will tell, but I think we will see some good results from that. It will be handled primarily through TCAT to begin with then partnered with Motlow State to kind of get that last computer driven workouts of the electrical vehicles,” he said.

At the meeting, committee chair Carl Bouldin had questions about the sustainability and environmental aspects of electric cars. 

“You were talking about the electric cars, going green right? How green is it when we are getting rid of those batteries and putting them in the landfills?” Bouldin asked.

“I had the same question you did until two days ago,” said Alexander. “Somebody really knowledgeable about this has the insight on this. These major companies are making and structuring these batteries in such a way that when they are no longer useful in an automobile, they bring them in and cut them up and they are still very effective for drills and power equipment.”

According to Alexander, it costs $40,000 to replace a Tesla battery, but there are warranties in place for when that happens.

“The way I understand it is that car companies are saying that as long as you own an electric vehicle, they are under warranty. So if you need a battery they will replace it,” he said.

Alexander reported that he was told it would cost around $7 or $8 to recharge an electric car, and it is predicted that most of the charging will be done at the residence of the electric car owner. He predicted that by 2035, 41% of vehicles will be electric.