Charged EVs | The 24/7 diner is part of the American Road Trip—and maybe an ideal site for a NEVI public EV charging station


As states begin to award National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program funding, what kinds of sites are getting most of the grants for public EV charging stations? So far, winners include gas stations and convenience store chains—and a Tennessee Waffle House.

Tennessee has $88 million in NEVI money to dole out over 5 years. In the first funding round of $21 million, 167 applications were received from 23 public and private entities, and the state’s Department of Transportation and Department of Environment and Conservation chose 30 projects from 10 applicants. These organizations will purchase, install, own, operate and (very importantly) maintain the charging sites.

Of the selected sites, most were gas stations or convenience stores, but one was a 24-hour Waffle House on US Highway 64, northeast of Memphis. Atlanta-based charging infrastructure provider EnviroSpark will install 4 DC fast chargers at the site. The project will reportedly cost around $889,000, of which the federal government will provide $702,000. Construction is scheduled to start later this year.

NEVI rules require charging stations along major corridors to be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and this Waffle House meets that requirement. Stations must also provide rest rooms and some form of food and beverage service.

Of course, many gas stations and convenience stores also tick all those boxes, but some might argue that a restaurant is a more pleasant place to spend half an hour or so. A 24-hour diner is also a quintessential part of the classic American Road Trip. When you’re digging into a plate of scattered, smothered and covered hash browns at 3 am, while waiting for your F-150 Lightning to charge, sitting next to you at the counter might just be the ghosts of Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady.

“Tennessee has shown true leadership in state agency coordination between TDOT and TDEC, sharing expertise and building a strong foundation for the state’s EV charging network,” said Gabe Klein, Executive Director of the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation. “The Joint Office is proud to provide technical support to ensure these 30 fast charging locations provide a frictionless experience for users.”


Sources: EnviroSpark, Tennessee DOT, Electrek, Green Car Reports


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