Skip to content

UT-Led Coalition Chosen to Compete for Funding Related to Electric Vehicles

Kevin Heaslip

A coalition led by University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Center for Transportation Research Director Kevin Heaslip has passed its first hurdle, as it was granted a $1 million National Science Foundation Regional Innovation Engines award to build an outline of a statewide strategy surrounding boosting electric vehicle production and use in the state.

That UT-led program, Advancing Technology-Enabled Mobility Solutions is now competing for up to $160 million in federal implementation funding in 2025.

“There is no limit to what we can achieve given the assets we have to build on, including our leadership in automotive manufacturing, the collective strengths of our K-12 and higher education partners, the vision of our innovation-focused industry partners and the alignment among our community and economic development organizations,” said Heaslip.

The alliance includes Tennessee State University, Tennessee Tech University, the University of Memphis, UT Chattanooga, Vanderbilt University, all 40 technical and community colleges governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents, the UT-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute, Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development, Department of Environment and Conservation and Department of Transportation, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Tennessee Valley Authority, economic development organizations and start-up incubators and accelerators, community organizations, and industry partners including AT&T, Bridgestone, Denso, FedEx, IACMI—The Composites Institute and Volkswagen. The coalition is actively recruiting new members.

The state is already a recognized leader in automotive manufacturing with a growing presence in the EV market. Inspired by the increasing electrification and automation of transportation, the coalition of more than 90 organizations statewide will conceive of, invent and commercialize new transportation systems and technologies. This first-of-its-kind mobility coalition will prepare Tennesseans for good-paying jobs and create, recruit and retain the innovation industries of Tennessee’s future.

“This bold and unprecedented partnership will set a new standard for leveraging the resources and opportunities across our state to revolutionize a critical industry and deliver better-paying jobs to Tennesseans,” said UT Chancellor Donde Plowman. “Together with our partners, we will harness ingenuity and creativity to make life and lives better.”

A full version of this story can be seen at