Pictured above, from left: Brandon Patel and Maxavier Lamantia, graduate research assistants, and Pingen Chen, Ph.D., associate professor of mechanical engineering, inspect a Nissan Leaf – one of two electric vehicles made in Tennessee.

Electric and hybrid vehicles will be focus of event

Cookeville – Engineering students at Tennessee Tech University will get a jump-start on Earth Day, celebrated annually on April 22, by hosting a “ride and drive” event for electric and hybrid vehicles on Saturday, April 15, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event, held in partnership with Plug In America, Electric Vehicle Association, Sierra Club and EVHybridNoire, will take place in the parking lot near Tech Village and Bush Stadium. 

The community will have the opportunity to test drive vehicle owned by event participants, including a Ford Mustang Mach-E, Nissan Leafs, Chevy Bolt EUVs, VW ID4s and a new Ford F150 Lightning.

Guests can also speak with Tech faculty and student researchers about the EV ecosystem. 

“Our research group has held many ride and drive and EV showcase events across the Upper Cumberland and throughout the Appalachian region as a whole,” said Maxavier Lamantia, graduate research assistant at Tech. “As Earth Day approaches, we wanted to bring our work back home to Cookeville to show the growth in EVs on the road and remind students and community members about the importance of environmental sustainability.”

Lamantia says many of the electric vehicles are made in Tennessee. 

“We want to promote vehicles that take advantage of our clean energy. We can also take pride in knowing that two electric vehicles, the Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen ID.4, are made right here in Tennessee,” Lamantia continued.

Around the world, the EV market has grown exponentially over the last decade.

According to the International Energy Agency’s Global EV Outlook 2022, only 120,000 electric cars were sold worldwide in 2012. In 2021, more than that many are sold each week. Much of the growth in the U.S. has been concentrated in urban neighborhoods, leaving rural areas overlooked.

“Tech faculty and students have been at the forefront of introducing this technology to rural communities,” said Tennessee Tech in a release. “Earlier this year, the university helped unveil rural Tennessee’s first fully electric shuttle bus in partnership with Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency.”

Tech’s ride and drive event is part of Drive Electric Earth Day, a national campaign to share information about electric vehicles throughout the month of April. The event is free and open to the public. 

Photo courtesy of Tennessee Tech.

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