NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — When Ford opens its huge electric vehicle manufacturing site near Memphis, it will join a handful of other carmakers — including Nissan, General Motors and Volkswagen — to help make Tennessee the leader in EV manufacturing in the southeast.
But will that news spur more drivers to make the switch, and purchase an electric vehicle?
Right now, Tennesseans are driving almost 14,000 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. While the number rises every year, it's still a long way from the state's goal of 200,000 EVs on Tennessee roads by the year 2028.
State leaders hope test drives will help. That’s what they offered at a recent EV event in Nashville.
Five manufacturers showed off their latest models many of which are now made right here in Tennessee.
That’s Reason Number 1:
Leaders hope buyers will want to support the state’s growing EV industry.
"The EV industry has now different options that are much more affordable," said Laurel Creech, with Metro’s Division of Sustainability.
That’s Reasons Number 2 and 3:
Automakers are producing new, varying models – from family sedans to SUVs and pick-ups.
That means more affordable price points for shoppers.
Reason Number 4:
The federal government offers a tax credit of – get this – up to $7,500 per vehicle. That brings the price tag down even further.
"Nashville is probably one of the leaders in the southeast around electric vehicle adoption. We have the most number of free electric vehicle charging stations," Creech said.
The state is also working hard to install more charging stations along interstates and even in state parks.
Which leads to Reason Number 5:
More charging stations — along with longer battery life — will help ease what experts call “range anxiety” for buyers.
In the end, organizers say it's simply about finding an EV model that fits your lifestyle.
"I think people are getting more comfortable with the technology,” said Travis Reid with the TVA. “It's not something completely brand new, it's starting to make more sense for them."