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Electric Vehicle Ecosystem in Appalachia Advancing with NETL Support
Electric Vehicle Ecosystem in Appalachia Advancing with NETL Support

NETL project partners Tennessee Technological University, the West Virginia Clean Cities Program and the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium of WVU Energy Institute, are reimagining transportation in rural America by working to build an electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem in Appalachia, and these efforts recently took a crucial step forward in Marion County, West Virginia.

NETL and its industry and academic project partners celebrated the launch of the new Ford E-Transit Van, powered solely by electric batteries, for the Fairmont-Marion County Transit Authority (FMCTA). Project leaders joined city and state officials to launch the first electric transit van added to a public transit authority’s fleet in West Virginia. The ribbon cutting ceremony included a vehicle demonstration and ride along. NETL’s Trev Hall, who manages the project, represented the Lab at the event.

“As the first public transit authority in West Virginia to add an electric transit van to its fleet, FMCTA will provide valuable real-world application data about electric vehicle performance and benefits in rural settings, including operational and maintenance costs,” Hall said.

“Our goal is to promote adoption of electric vehicles, support infrastructure development for charging electric vehicles, encourage availability and accessibility of electric vehicles in rural and underserved communities, and spur green economy development around transportation electrification.”

Ecosystem van

The project “Rural Reimagined, Building an EV Ecosystem for Appalachia” convenes a team of 60 partners across five states to create an EV ecosystem to demonstrate electric vehicles in rural, underserved, Appalachian counties. The $8 million effort includes more than 25 electric vehicles and more than 250 electric vehicle chargers. Furthermore, the project will facilitate local workforce development training.

“This project is one of the ways NETL and the U.S. Department of Energy is working to decarbonize the American power sector and economy,” Hall said. “Creating an ecosystem conducive to electric vehicles in more rural regions of the country would be a major step forward. The work with FMCTA will help us figure out what it will take to make this concept a reality.”

NETL is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory that drives innovation and delivers technological solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future. By leveraging its world-class talent and research facilities, NETL is ensuring affordable, abundant and reliable energy that drives a robust economy and national security, while developing technologies to manage carbon across the full life cycle, enabling environmental sustainability for all Americans.