About the Rural Reimagined Project:
Dr. Pingen Chen
PI, Assistant Professor Department of Mechanical Engineering Tennessee Technological University
Co-PI, Interim Director, National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium & Assistant Director, WVU Energy Institute
The Appalachian region has long provided natural resources that have powered the nation’s prosperity. The region now is experiencing hardships related to the changes in how society generates and uses electricity. The electrification of transportation provides real opportunities for addressing those hardships. Rural Reimagined will demonstrate those opportunities across Appalachia in five states, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
The project aims to provide clean and affordable mobility options to underserved communities by developing needed charging infrastructure and adopting and demonstrating various cost-effective EVs in diverse applications like public transit with the goal of building an EV ecosystem for Appalachia and transforming the lives of rural and low-income communities through strong regional collaboration.
The project team
includes dozens of partners spanning U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities coalitions, EV charging suppliers and service providers, EV manufacturers, rural transit agencies, academic institutions, and other stakeholders in the public and private sectors.
The National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) at the West Virginia University Energy Institute will develop and disseminate a safety-focused EV training program to develop the auto and diesel technician workforce in Appalachia that will be required to support the adoption of EVs. NAFTC will implement its proven train-the-trainer approach to disseminate the training.
Four NAFTC member community and technical colleges with ties to Appalachia will develop the educational materials. NAFTC’s existing EV materials will form the basis for the curriculum development. Materials will include textbooks, workbooks, PowerPoint slides, tests, and aids such as videos. The curriculum will be designed to allow its use in traditional college programs as well as for workshops for in-service technicians. The training will be rolled out to community and technical colleges throughout the region.
Tennessee Tech is leading the overall effort. Learn more. https://sites.tntech.edu/pchen/research/research-areas/rural-reimagined-building-an-ev-ecosystem-and-green-economy-for-transforming-lives-in-economically-distressed-appalachia/
Rural Reimagined Ribbon Cutting at Fairmont Marion County Transit Authority:
Celebrating a first of its kind in West Virginia, on November 22, 2022, the Fairmont-Marion County Transit Authority held a ribbon cutting featuring FMCTA’s newest fleet vehicle, a brand-new Ford E-Transit electric bus. FMCTA will be gathering data during its field demonstration of EVs as part of the Rural Reimagined project. FMCTA’s fleet also includes a Ford Mustang Mach-E. Funds to purchase the EVs were provided by the U.S. Department of Energy-funded Rural Reimagined project with matching funds from FMCTA.