Rivian will install Waypoint chargers in all 56 Tennessee state parks

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Tennessee is the next state to partner with electric vehicle maker Rivian on a plan to install EV charging points in outdoorsy places. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) announced a deal whereby Rivian would build Waypoint Level 2 chargers in all 56 of the state's parks. Site surveys are to begin in the fall, the final Waypoint is planned to be up and running by March of next year. Each station will provide up to 11.5 kilowatts of power, enough to add about 25 miles of range per hour, and will be available to any EV compatible with the J1772 plug, which is every modern EV on the market. Clearly, these aren't top-up-and-go systems, but they would provide great refill timing during an afternoon hike or overnight camp to the venturesome owners Rivian's targeting.

This hook-up in the south follows one made in the west in March, when Rivian partnered with the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission (CPW) to install a minimum of two Rivian Waypoints at each of Colorado's 42 state parks as well as eight additional CPW locations. The first charging station in Colorado is meant to be completed this month.

We should clarify that Rivian is laying out two charging networks. The first is Rivian Waypoint, these aforementioned publicly available Level 2 chargers. The company plans to build more than 10,000 of them in the U.S. and Canada by 2023, and not just in parks but also in shopping centers, restaurants, hotels, and other places where folks congregate for extended periods. The second is the Rivian Adventure Network. This will be 3,500 fast chargers in the U.S. and Canada, only available to Rivian customers, able to inject 140 miles of range into the R1T and R1S in 20 minutes.

In Tennessee, Rivian will bear all of the installation and operating costs of the chargers for ten years, including those for necessary upgrades to get and keep everything running. Network users can charge for free initially, but it's not clear how long that will last, the TDEC cautioning that "potential future cost may be dependent on systemwide utilization to recover electricity costs."

Other states are making similar moves on their own. Three of South Carolina's 47 state parks are equipped with EV chargers, as are nine of West Virginia's 44 state parks and state forests. And this month, Missouri's state government provided its Department of Natural Resources $1 million to install a charging network in its state parks.

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