It’s National Drive Electric Week, and North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are demonstrating their continued commitment to promoting electric vehicles, and their many benefits, with a $1 million investment in rural electric vehicle charging infrastructure across North Carolina.
The funding will be used to install 21 charging stations, including 10 DC Fast chargers and 11 Level 2 chargers, in cooperative-served communities throughout the state by the end of the year. These stations will help further expand the existing electric cooperative EV charging network, which currently includes public charging stations at 30 locations. ChargePoint, an industry leader in EV charging infrastructure and networks, will supply the equipment and apply technical expertise in managing and installing the sites.
“Every major route in the state traverses cooperative-served areas, providing us ample opportunity to deploy charging stations in rural communities at or along the way to tourist destinations,” said Diane Huis, senior vice president of innovation and business development for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. “By investing in rural charging stations in the areas we serve, we can encourage the environmental and cost-savings benefits of EVs while also promoting commerce, tourism, economic development and improved quality of life across North Carolina.”
DC Fast Charge stations provide a very quick charge and are capable of charging a depleted electric vehicle’s battery to 80 percent capacity in under 30 minutes. DC Fast Charge stations are usually located in high-traffic public areas: for instance, Four County EMC has installed a DC Fast Charger just off I-40 in Wallace on the way to and from the coast.
Level 2 charging is commonly found in public locations, including shopping centers, downtown areas, multifamily communities and workplaces. The stations can also be installed at home if a 240-volt outlet is available. Level 2 charging is three to five times faster than Level 1 (a standard 120-volt outlet) and provides 10 to 20 electric miles per hour.
Co-op charging stations can already be found at a number of the state’s most notable tourist destinations. Randolph EMC has installed four charging stations at the N.C. Zoo, one of the state’s most visited attractions. Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative has two charging stations on Hatteras Island along the state’s Outer Banks and will be among the first to use funding from the $1 million to install a DC Fast charger in Avon this fall, and Brunswick Electric has existing charging stations in six beach communities in its service area. In the west, Blue Ridge Energy has helped install charging stations in the idyllic mountain towns of West Jefferson and Blowing Rock, as well as in Lenoir.
North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are also pursuing additional funding resources to grow this network even further, including funding available through the North Carolina Volkswagen Settlement.
In addition to investing in a growing network of EV chargers, electric cooperatives offer a variety of benefits and incentives to electric vehicle owners, including special EV electricity rates, low interest EV loans, and rebates for purchasing an electric vehicle or installing a Level 2 home charger. EV buyers can also take advantage of a federal tax credit, and co-op members can also receive a special rebate when purchasing a Nissan LEAF.
Driving electric offers numerous benefits including significant cost savings, more convenience and less maintenance, a better driving experience, a healthier environment, a stronger local economy and a more efficient electric grid. To learn more about why electric vehicles make sense for your life and the EV benefits offered by your local electric cooperative, visit ncdriveelectric.com.