Posted by on Sep 29, 2011 in Chattanooga, Social media | 3 comments

Nissan Leaf, Murphy USA Ribbon Cutting for EV Level 3 Charger Chattanooga is sweet cream rising; the days it reigned as Most Polluted City in the Nation are (thankfully) but a vapor.  Capturing national and global attention, Chattanooga ~

Last week I received an email from the team at Collective Bias asking me if I would be interested in attending the September 24th ribbon cutting for Murphy USA's EV Level III Charging Station, serving as their eyes and ears.  I jumped at the chance, thrilled to be a part of this important event to learn first-hand what this would mean for Chattanooga and the entire country!

Ribbon Cutting 2 ~ Murphy Oil USA EV Level 3 Charger
{l-r Carol Berz – Councilwoman District 6/Chattanooga City Council; Congressman Chuck Fleischmann – 3rd District Tennessee; Tom McKinlay, President, Murphy USA Inc.; Jeff Goodwin, Vice President Retail Operations, Murphy USA Inc.; Alex Alexandrou, Senior Manager Retail Programs & Business Development, Murphy USA Inc.; John Wirtz, Head Electric Transportation Infrastructure, Eaton Corporation; Angelos Lambis, Vice President Operations & Support Services, Murphy USA Inc.}

The Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce delivered a picture-perfect Fall morning–clear and crisp and barely a cloud in sight.  It was under blue skies and sunshine that Murphy USA president Tom McKinlay offered warm opening remarks–

Murphy USA selected Chattanooga as the site for its first Level 3 Charger because of its close proximity to Smyrna, TN, Nissan's site for 2012 production of their all-electric vehicle, the Leaf.  Interestingly, Murphy USA opened its first retail store back in December 1996, just a few miles down the road near the Sam’s Club parking lot.  In 15 years, Murphy USA has grown to 1,100 stores in 23 states across the country.

Initially, I was confused because 2 North Shore downtown announced just two days earlier it had installed five charging stations with its solar photovoltaic parking structure system.  The difference–and it's substantial–is the length of time it takes to complete a charge.   The Ecotality unit downtown will charge an electric vehicle in four-six hours; the Eaton Corporation's Level 3 Charger can accomplish full charge in 20-30 minutes! 

Murphy Oil USA President Tom McKinlay "We want to be our customers' complete energy provider," declared Murphy USA president Tom McKinlay.  "This is the first step in truly understanding just how influential this equipment might be and how likely it is for us to take it to scale across our network.

Congressman Chuck Fleischmann of Chattanooga, 3rd District of TN I agree with Congressman Chuck Fleischmann who repeatedly proclaimed Chattanooga "the best mid-size city in the world."  Sure, some would say that's just political speak, but when you hear him say it, you know he means it.  "Chattanooga is leading the nation in innovation," he asserts, "This is the place to be!"  Living here I'd say there's plenty of evidence to support such bold statements.

Chattanooga City Councilwoman Carol Berz

Councilwoman Carol Berz, District 6, just as enthusiastic, lauded Murphy USA's investment in Chattanooga and admitted she was "very impressed with [Murphy USA's] research methods…that is, to go to the people, don't tell them what they want, ask them what they want and let them try it out."

It's an understatement to say I was impressed with all in attendance.  The intimate gathering allowed for real conversation, and every one of my countless questions was answered, respectfully and thoroughly.  Officials joining Murphy USA included Eaton Corporation's John Wirtz (Head Electric Transportation Infrastructure), Congressman Chuck Fleischmann and his wife, Brenda, John Wayne (President and CEO of The Enterprise Center), Jim Hill (East Coast Director Trivalle Communications for Mitsubishi Motors North America) and Kevin Pierce (our local Nissan dealer's internet sales manager); Tom McKinlay brought key personnel from Murphy USA:  Angelos Lambis~Vice President Operations & Support Services, Jeff Goodwin~Vice President Retail Operations and Sam Sharma~Division Manager. 

210867_2436621001250_1423472386_2730930_1849404244_o My favorite part might have been test-driving Mitsubishi's i MIEV, my first time driving a vehicle with the steering wheel on the right.  It's surprisingly quiet (I didn't even realize when the engine was running) and roomy for its compact size.  

My only complaint (and shortcoming) is that because I was taking photographs with my Nikon and cell phone, and videoing with my Flip–and then spending time talking with everyone–I wasn't able to upload pics to Facebook and Twitter during the event!  Hopefully, having everything here in one place will make up for it.

Thanks to Collective Bias for hiring me and trusting me with this job!  I'm much more informed as a result. 

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