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Rivian just debuted a new type of charger for its futuristic EV trucks — here's why that's such a big deal

The charger sits next to a local landmark.

Rivian Waypoints charger

Photo Credit: iStock

Thanks to these two companies, you can now find solar-powered EV chargers in Tennessee. 

Rivian, an electric-vehicle manufacturer, in collaboration with solar company Clearloop, debuted the new chargers earlier this year. 

The companies' placed the first Waypoints EV charger in the small city of Paris, Tennessee, two hours northwest of Nashville. The charger sits next to a landmark that those who use it can admire while their vehicles charge –– Tennessee's own 70-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower.

This Level 2 EV charger is powered by Rivian and Clearloop's Paris Solar Farm-Puryear project, and its Tennessee location is intentional. The two companies specifically "aim to put renewables on more fossil-fueled grids where they can displace more coal and natural gas." 

The Paris Solar Farm is one megawatt but is part of a larger initiative that is set to cover electricity used by Rivian Waypoints chargers –– which are currently located in 12 Tennessee state parks –– as well as other regional clean energy projects.

There's great news about this project, too –– as of December 2022, Rivian's one-megawatt portion of the Paris Solar Farm-Puryear project is projected to generate renewable energy beyond the state parks' yearly needs.

Watch now: Alex Honnold test drives his new Rivian

This development is particularly exciting due to Tennessee's urgent need for improvement in clean energy, as the state's national solar ranking is currently 31st out of 50. According to Clearloop, the state's grid is powered by only 0.4% solar, while the Solar Energy Industries Association says that as of mid-late 2022, the state had installed 609 megawatts of solar and has 0.9% solar energy.

Either way, this puts that state at a very low percentage of solar energy — below 1%.

Even with a decision made by the Tennessee Valley Authority in 2021 to develop a statewide network of EV chargers, Elektrek believes that the state needs to up its game when it comes to solar energy. "TVA only has 14 solar sites and no wind. It needs to do better," it wrote

The Rivian solar-powered EV chargers and the Paris Solar Farm-Puryear program are initiatives that can aid in moving the state toward a greener future. More clean energy in Tennessee is the kind of news and progress we love to see.

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