NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Greetings from the land of country music and barbecue.
We're the second pair of drivers on E&E News' Electric Road Trip, an epic 6,000-mile journey across the country to explore how electric vehicles will change America. This week, we're driving a white Kia Niro EV. Our route starts here in Nashville and winds through the southeastern U.S., with pit stops in Atlanta and Greenville, S.C.
Maxine covers transportation, so she's used to writing about electric vehicles and the auto industry more broadly. But she doesn't own a car in Washington, D.C., so she's a little nervous about getting behind the wheel. (Hopefully AAA never gets called.)
Kristi is based in Atlanta, where she covers the Southeast's electric utility industry. She's excited to drive an EV on her home turf, as long as it doesn't involve sitting in Atlanta traffic for hours. A highlight of the week will be getting her favorite tuna melt sandwich at Manuel's Tavern, which has been hosting the EV Club of the South for years.
To kick things off, we paid a visit yesterday to Nashville's Lane Motor Museum, which houses the country's largest collection of European cars. After charging for free in the museum's garage, we checked out some of the first hybrid-electric vehicles produced in the United States. We also got a history lesson.
"A lot of folks don't know that the electric car idea is as old as the horse's carriage," Rex Bennett, the museum's education director, told us. "Electric cars go back to the early 20th century. But gasoline won out because it was cheaper and the range wasn't an issue."
After the museum, we headed to Daisy Hill Bed and Breakfast, a quaint little mom-and-pop establishment. The owners, Darrell and Linda Bengson, told us they were the first bed and breakfast to install an EV charger in the state of Tennessee. Their neighbors, however, were initially reluctant to have the technology next door.
"There were two different sizes of the charging station — one was that great big monster size — and so our neighbors said, 'I don't know if I want that in the neighborhood,'" Linda Bengson said, gesturing around the neighborhood with its stately houses and manicured lawns. "So we got the smaller version. And it just sits on the side of the house, not in anybody's way."
This morning, we're headed to Nissan's manufacturing plant in Smyrna, Tenn., where the iconic Nissan Leaf has been produced for nearly a decade. We're signing off for now so our editors don't have heart palpitations at the prospect of us typing while driving. Stay tuned for another update this afternoon.