Leveraging Outreach and Collaboration in East Tennessee

The University of Tennessee’s EcoCAR 2 team believes that community outreach and education is necessary to advance the adoption of alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies such as electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program is a competition sponsor for the EcoCAR 2 program and focuses on outreach to reduce petroleum energy use. East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition (ET Clean Fuels) shares many of the same goals as Team Tennessee and is the local designee for the Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program. The following video represents some of the ways Team Tennessee has collaborated with ET Clean Fuels throughout the competition to leverage each other’s outreach programs.

Team Tennessee’s vehicle will be fueled by both electricity and E85 (a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline) which meets both EcoCAR 2’s and Clean Cities’ missions. EcoCAR 2 aims to reduce petroleum usage and greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining consumer acceptability of performance, safety and utility, and these competition goals align with ET Clean Fuels’ goals. ET Clean Fuels advocates alternative and renewable fuels, idle-reduction measures, fuel economy improvements and new forms of transportation.

Team Tennessee has partnered with ET Clean Fuels for numerous outreach events around East Tennessee. Jonathan Overly, executive director of ET Clean Fuels, states, “there is a natural fit for EcoCAR 2 and Clean Cities Coalition, and it behooves us both to belong with one another and work together.” ET Clean Fuels has been supportive in collaborating with Team Tennessee since the beginning of the EcoCAR 2 competition. Team Tennessee Communications Manager Katelynn Routh states, “before I started in year two, ET Clean Fuels allowed me to intern in their office and really gain a background in alternative fuels and new transportation technologies.”

ET Clean Fuels has been an inspiration and model for Team Tennessee’s outreach program because of the organization’s dedication to raising awareness and education about alternative fuels and transportation through direct community involvement. Team Tennessee’s communications program has gained invaluable training and experience from working closely with the staff of ET Clean Fuels, and Jonathan Overly welcomes the opportunity to have people work with the East Tennessee Clean Cities program. He states, “if our Coalition’s goal is to advance alternative fuels use and reduce petroleum consumption in the area, every opportunity we have for more vehicles and more educated people to join our group and collaborate to do new events helps us reach that goal.”