Apr 3, 2023 - News

North Carolina faces a growing need for EV chargers

Publicly available EV chargers in the Raleigh area
Data: U.S. Department of Energy; Map: Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals

An electric vehicle charging station is coming to a corner near you … someday.

The big picture: Momentum is high — but obstacles are plentiful — from the price of urban real estate to outdated zoning rules, Axios' Jennifer A. Kingson reports.

Why it matters: Better coverage could get more people to buy EVs, helping reduce vehicle emissions.

  • And placing chargers in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods could improve access for all drivers.

By the numbers: In North Carolina, EV adoption is increasing rapidly. In January, the state reported 56,548 electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles — up 48.6% from 38,064 January 2022.

  • In Wake County alone, there were 14,052 EVs, up 48.9% year over year.

Yes, but: The number of available public EV chargers has not grown as quickly as the number of new EVs on the road, according to annual reports from Plug-in NC.

  • Fast-charging ports — key along highways for EVs making longer journeys — grew by 40.8% last year to around 690, according to Plug-in NC.
  • The number of public level two charging ports (which are slower charging but often installed in public places) remained flat at just under 2,000 ports.

Wake County estimates it will need 1,600 level 2 plugs by 2030, according to one estimate from 2019.

  • Wake County currently has around 371 public charging stations, according to ChargeHub, one of the largest concentrations in the state.

What's happening: The state is planning to use money from President Biden's Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, passed in 2021, to add more chargers statewide..

  • The state stands to get $109 million, which it plans to use in two phases: the first to expand charging stations along national highways and a second to build stations in individual communities.
  • The city of Raleigh will also consider adding an ordinance this year to require new developments to support electrical charging infrastructure, according to the city's Community Climate Action Plan.

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