BrightRidge cuts ribbon on electric vehicle charging network

BrightRidge CEO Jeff Dykes (left) and Hands On! Discovery Center executive director Andy Marquart (center) are joined by Johnson City Mayor Jenny Brock and members of the BrightRidge Board of Directors during a ribbon cutting to officially open an electric vehicle charging station at the Hands On! Discovery Center in Gray. PHOTO BY DAVE ONGIE

Hands On! Discovery Center, East Tennessee State University’s Gray Fossil Site and BrightRidge inaugurated BrightRidge’s new electric vehicle charging network last Tuesday, cutting the ribbon on the first station at the Hands On!/Gray Fossil Site location in Gray.

There will be no charge for users at Hands On! at start-up. Similarly, BrightRidge will be installing a second free charging station at its Boones Creek office. Both stations are located close to I-26.

Pay-by-the-session stations will also be constructed in downtown Johnson City at King Commons and the Farmer’s Market, as well as at the Visitor’s Center in downtown Jonesborough. Installations will continue over the next 90 days.

“BrightRidge is pleased to partner with Hands On! Discovery Center and ETSU’s Natural History Museum at the Gray Fossil site as we explore the future of transportation,” BrightRidge CEO Jeff Dykes said last Tuesday.

“Electric cars are on the road today, with many new models on the horizon. The charging network allows us to learn first-hand the impacts and opportunities for our system as transportation electrifies. At the same time, what better way to support our area’s brightest attractions than to make sure all visitors, regardless of how they are powered, feel welcomed.”

Under the partnership with Hands On!/ETSU Fossil Site, BrightRidge will provide the equipment, installation and upkeep. BrightRidge will monitor usage and seek other partners in the region to install more charging stations as demand grows.

Both pay-by-session and free charging stations offer 240-volt Level 2 chargers, with charging capacity sufficient to provide a minimum of 25 miles or more of range per hour of charging, depending on the vehicle type and onboard charging equipment.

“Both Hands On! and the Fossil Site are about discovery,” Hands On! CEO Andy Marquart said. “For all three partners in this project, the charging station also represents discovery, as we learn about the impact of our evolving mode of travel as well as the positive effect we can make on our environment through this transition. And, we can’t think of a better way to welcome our visitors than ensuring they can enjoy their time here without range anxiety when they’re ready to continue their journey.”

In addition to the new BrightRidge EV Charging Network, BrightRidge has also deployed its first electric vehicle – a new Chevrolet Bolt, on hand for the event, with a new Nissan Leaf on order.

“As range improves, we will continue to add electric vehicles where it makes business sense,” Dykes said.

“Electric vehicles are a natural fit for us, and as a public utility, we need to continue to be positioned to fill all the electricity related needs of our customers as their trusted energy adviser.”


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