The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) announced a new deal with EV automaker Rivian to install Rivian Waypoint EV charging stations at Tennessee State Parks. The goal is to have charging stations available at all 56 state parks, depending on the availability of electricity.
“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,” Matt Horton, executive vice president of Energy and Charging Solutions at Rivian, said.
The EV maker had revealed plans for its own charging network in March. Unlike Tesla, Rivian’s so-called Waypoint network will be open to all EV models and comprise Level 2 chargers that provide up to 11.5 kilowatts of power.
At Tennessee State Parks, EV charging will initially be free and managed via the Rivian app. However, any potential future cost to drivers may depend on utilization to recover electricity costs, the partners inform.
In addition to overseeing design and installation, Rivian will provide any necessary utility upgrades associated with the charger installation at no cost to the state or taxpayers. Rivian will also cover all network access fees, equipment service, and maintenance for ten years.
Site surveys and engineering are set to begin over the summer, with installation scheduled for autumn and stretching into March 2022. The company is also running a similar project in Colorado.
In Tennesee, the agreement with Rivian is not TDEC’s only commitment to e-mobility. Earlier this year, TDEC and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) announced plans to develop a statewide EV charging network that will provide fast-charging stations every 50 miles along Tennessee’s interstates and highways. The initiative is designed to add approximately 50 new fast-charging locations throughout the state.
For Rivian, the Waypoint network is but one part of a two-pronged approach. The company also plans to install the ‘Rivian Adventure Network, ’ which will include more than 3,500 DC chargers at more than 600 locations in the US and Canada by the end of 2023. Taking its clues from the rivalling Superchargers, the fast-chargers will be exclusive to Rivian drivers. Tesla, however, just this week announced it would open the Superchargers to third-party operators as reported.