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UTC to use TVA electric vehicle facility

Co-written by Adrienne Teague, University Relations Intern

Instability in the Middle East and disruptions in America’s domestic oil supply have spurred national debate about our dependence on foreign petroleum. For years, forward-thinking leaders have been encouraging the development of alternative fuels and operating systems for vehicles, and now fluctuating gasoline prices have consumers supporting the idea.

A new research partnership between the Tennessee Valley Authority, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and Advanced Transportation Technology Institute (ATTI) will propel Chattanooga into a leadership role in the development of alternative fuel and hybrid transportation.

“The power to convene is greater than the power to legislate, and that is what we are accomplishing here today,” said Congressman Zach Wamp. “This is a true partnership, one that is clearly in the nation’s best interest. We believe this site will be a feeder for all types of next generation vehicles, and this facility will engage the students at UTC in engineering and simulation.”

In a ceremony on Thursday, June 1, TVA gave UTC and ATTI a 10-year use of the facility with time extension options. The research consortium will bring a renewed mission to the electric vehicle facility located at TVA’s Chickamauga Dam location. Researchers will study fuel efficiency, endurance, and steering along with performance variables in vehicles. The site could be used to test individual components and systems along with finished vehicles, offering the potential to work with major automobile manufacturers.

“This is the perfect time to reopen this site as Chattanooga’s living laboratory.” said Tom Kilgore, TVA president. “TVA is committed to educating younger generations, and we believe we are putting our future in good hands.”

Tennessee Valley Authority constructed a research and development user facility for electric vehicles in 1981 on its site adjacent to Chickamauga Dam. The site has previously been utilized as a fabrication site by a TVA contractor and has been licensed for use as a test track by ATTI for the past several years.

“Consider that today we are announcing a partnership between this region’s comprehensive institution of higher education, a non-profit organization dedicated to the development of clean and efficient fuel, and the nation’s largest public producer of power,” said UTC Chancellor Roger Brown. “What a team! And what results we can expect.”

The applied research partnership, known as Advanced Technologies for Transportation Research Program (ATTRP), develops and deploys transportation technologies that utilize clean and secure sources of energy. ATTRP works to improve current power train technology while developing highly efficient drive trains; researching domestically produced motor fuels, such as hydrogen and bio-diesel; and promoting more convenient and efficient public transportation systems.

The announcement was one of the special events held in conjunction with the Tennessee Valley Corridor Summit. Congressman Wamp organized the regional economic development initiative more than a decade ago to strategically link parts of the Tennessee Valley Corridor, which stretches from north Alabama through Tennessee into southwest Virginia and southern and eastern Kentucky. The 2006 Chattanooga Summit highlighted technologies aimed at upgrading America’s energy independence and economic growth.

June 2, 2006

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