Drivers of electric cars in Memphis can finally charge their vehicles at a public station. The Peabody Hotel is home to Memphis' first charging station, which will be unveiled on Wednesday afternoon. The charging equipment is compatible with the all-electric Nissan LEAF.
The station was made available through San Francisco-based ECOtality's EV Project, which is overseeing the development of around 14,000 charging stations in 18 major cities. Memphis is set to receive more than 60 stations located in public areas throughout the city.
For more on the EV Project and proposed locations for Memphis charging stations, read Lindsay Jones' Memphis Flyer story.
A group of park preservationists, ecologists, business leaders, and others have launched a Speak Up for Overton Park campaign to gauge interest in forming a nonprofit conservancy to fund and manage Midtown's largest park.
The conservancy would be similar to the ones that manage Shelby Farms Park and the Memphis Botanic Gardens. The group's website — OvertonPark.org — says the park "is threatened by inadequate funding and haphazard planning," and the advocates claim that a conservancy might be the answer. If approved, a conservancy would maintain the city's ownership of the park, while decreasing its obligation to maintenance and upkeep.
Speak Up is hosting two public meetings this week to gauge interest in the conservancy model. One will be held on Saturday, June 25th from 10 a.m. to noon and the other on Tuesday, June 28th from 5 to 7 p.m. Both will be held inside the Memphis College of Art. The public survey is also available online.
More than 800 Memphis Light, Gas, & Water (MLGW) customers in five zip codes will get a little schooling on water usage on Friday, April 1st. Beginning at 8:30 a.m., representatives from the utility company will begin visiting homes of people who demonstrated overly-high water consumption in the month of March.
(Disclaimer: There are no actual police involved in this effort. These are just friendly visits by MLGW field reps. "Water Police" certainly grabbed your attention though, right?)
The customers in zip codes 38104, 38108, 38106, 38111, and 38114 showed an average of 39 CCF of water usage during March. The average usage for most MLGW customers is 10 CCF, which is still higher than the national average. MLGW representatives will consult customers with the highest water usage on what factors may be contributing to their use.
For comparison, 39 CCF is the equivalent of drinking 234,000 16-ounce water bottles or flushing a 15-year-old toilet 7,293 times during the month. Part of the problem for the zip codes in question may be attributed to plumbing fixture leaks, fixtures that pre-date the 1990 low-flow toilet, facet, and shower regulations, or heavy laundry or showering habits.
Field service representatives will be wearing a uniform and badge. They'll also be going door-to-door on April 21st.
On Tuesday, March 29th, Douglass High School was officially granted partner status in the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation's TP3 Green School program.
The TP3 program promotes environmental education of students and staff through hands-on projects in clean air, energy conservation, hazardous materials, education, land and water conservation, and waste reduction.
Douglass has been working toward this goal for some time. Many students are involved in the school's Recycling Club and the Watt Busters Club, which encourages kids to practice energy efficiency at home and school. Douglass saved more than $7,000 on its energy bill after a year-long effort to unplug idle computers and other electrical equipment. In 2010, Douglass students launched the Eleanor Roosevelt Green Garden in the vacant lot across from campus.
Only a handful of diehard cyclists braved the rain and cold weather this past Saturday for the Madison Avenue Bike Lane Buy-In ride. So organizers have rescheduled the event for Saturday, March 12th at noon. As of Monday, the forecast for Saturday is sunny with a high of 66 degrees.
For more on the event, check out our last post below or the event's Facebook page.
Madison Avenue is scheduled for re-paving this spring, and the city of Memphis is considering adding bike lanes in both directions at that time. Adding bike lanes would mean taking away two lanes of car traffic, and some Madison business owners are worried that such a move would result in a loss of business.
However, plenty of bike-friendly businesses fully support the addition of bike lanes along Madison. On Saturday, cycling advocates will take to the streets to show their support for bike lanes and pass out "bike-friendly business" window stickers to supportive companies.
The ride begins at noon, leaving from Revolutions Community Bicycle Shop at First Congo Church (1000 S. Cooper) with a plan to arrive at bike-friendly Boscos Squared by 12:45 p.m. Next, the group will ride down Madison to Fino's on the Hill, another supportive business, by 1:30 p.m. From there, riders will make stops at bike-friendly businesses along Madison to pass out window stickers.
So far, over 200 people have signed up to ride on Facebook.
Here's a list of bike-friendly business along Madison scheduled to receive stickers:
Bosco's (2120 Madison)
Fino's from the Hill (1853 Madison)
Fuel Cafe (1761 Madison)
Garden Path Studios (587 Madison)
Hi Gorgeous! Salon (1475 Madison)
Madison Pharmacy (1750 Madison)
Maggie's Pharm (13 Florence)
Memphis Center for Independent Living (1633 Madison)
Memphis Pizza Cafe (2087 Madison)
No Regrets (1928 Madison)
P&H Cafe (1532 Madison)
Pho Hoa Binh (1615 Madison)
The Salon (1867 Madison Ave)
Sekisui Midtown (Belvedere at Madison)
Shangri-La Records (1916 Madison)
Trolley Stop Market (704 Madison)
Tucker's Pizza Wings & Subs (1607 Madison)
It’s official: Memphis is on the grid.
On Tuesday morning, representatives from San Francisco-based ECOtality North America hosted a partner forum at The Peabody to welcome the Bluff City into a five-state embrace of electric vehicles and charging stations called “The EV Project.”
“Electric vehicles are coming, and we want to make sure businesses in Tennessee are as EV-friendly as possible,” said ECOtality’s Stephanie Cox.
Previously, only Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, and about 20 smaller towns in East and Middle Tennessee were included in the state’s piece of the federally funded effort to help Americans depend less on fossil fuels and clean up the environment.
The EV project’s purpose is to develop a $230 million commercial and residential charging network to coincide with the continuing release of electric or hybrid vehicles, particularly the all-electric Nissan LEAF. That car is expected to help consumers save about $1,800 a year on fuel costs.
Production for the LEAF, which has a lithium ion battery and can go 100 miles between charges, will be moved in 2012 to the Nissan plant in Smyrna just outside of Nashville. The plant is expected to manufacture 150,000 electric cars a year, along with 200,000 battery packs. Many of the car’s components are made from recycled materials such as plastic water bottles.
“It’s not a question of if; it’s how fast we’re going to see reliance on electric vehicles,” said Mayor A C Wharton.
To supplement the LEAF and other vehicles’ relatively short charging range, high-voltage charging stations are going to be installed around the state to help drivers with longer trips.
Since quick charges take about 30 minutes, the charging stations are going to be put where people tend to stop and spend an hour or more — shopping centers, libraries, hotels, hospitals and other attractions. That way, the inconvenience of having to stop and juice up is more “bearable,” as Cox put it.
Anyone who orders one of the five-passenger sedans is eligible for a $2,500 tax incentive from the state. The zero-emission cars will be priced at about $22,500. About 100 of them are already on the road since their December release, and more will be rolling out during the spring and summer.
“The message is, let’s become less dependent on foreign oil,” said Jerry Collins, president and CEO of Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division.
As the Tennessee Valley Authority’s largest power distributor, MLGW has a vested interest in ensuring the infrastructure necessary to support electric cars comes to the Memphis area.
ECOtality will be hosting two more informational forums in Knoxville on Thursday and Chattanooga on March 22nd.