Home Local News Richmond County among 33 NC locations selected for future EV fast charging

Richmond County among 33 NC locations selected for future EV fast charging

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ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County will be looking to add another EV charging location in the near future.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation released the North Carolina Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Plan in early August, proposing 33 new locations for DC fast charging in the first phase.

In that plan, Richmond County is listed as a location along U.S. 74. That highway and Interstate 73/74 are listed as “alternative fuel corridors.” While the plan does not specify along which stretch of U.S. 74 the chargers will be added, a map appears to show the Richmond County location west of Rockingham via a drop pin.

According to NCDOT, the EV Infrastructure Deployment Plan was formed through the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program, which was ​​​​​​​​​​​​​established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

According to NCDOT: “…(t)he (NEVI) Program​ provides nearly $5 billion from July 2022-June 2027 to help states create a network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations along designated alternative fuel corridors. North Carolina expects to receive up to $109 million to build out EV infrastructure along its approved corridors.”

The plan states that the EV stations are expected to charge four vehicles at a rate between 150-350kW.

For context, a Tesla Model 3, the most sold EV in the U.S., would be able to recharge its 267-mile battery in about 30 minutes at a 150kW station.

The locations must be “open to public and accessible 24/7 to both chargers and amenities.”

Richmond’s location is currently listed as “pending,” in the plan.

Courtesy NCDOT

It is unknown which charging network will be set up, however, only Electrify America and Tesla have a scaled network of 150kW+ chargers.

The Tesla Supercharger Network, while the largest, currently supports only Tesla vehicles and Electrify America has worked with NCDOT on previous EV charging plans to support charging for all EVs. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has stated recently that the company plans to open its network to non-Teslas later this year.

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Tesla already has 12 stalls at Richmond Plaza in Rockingham with 250kW minimum charge rates, and is the only level 3 charger in the county. The two ChargePoint stations — at The Berry Patch just outside Ellerbe and Hamlet’s Main Street Park — are level 2 chargers capable of having a charge rate of 6.6kW.

DC Fast Chargers are usually used for road trips as residential EV owners typically charge overnight at home for their daily commutes using either a 120v or 240v outlet.

Other nearby pending locations as part of the NEVI plan are Robeson (around Maxton) and Union counties along U.S. 74, and Montgomery and Randolph counties along I-73.

According to NCDOT, there are currently 10 existing stations across the state that meet NEVI criteria, all west of Interstate 95. Three are along the I-95 corridor: Lumberton, Rocky Mount and Carolina Premium Outlets in Smithfield.

To fill the gap in the east, the plan adds six stations along U.S. 17 from Elizabeth City to New Bern to Wilmington and points in between.

Earlier this year, Rep. Ben Moss, R-Richmond, was one of four state reps to introduce a bill that would prohibit free charging stations for electric vehicles on local, county or state government property — unless that same property also offers gasoline and diesel fuel at no cost.

Other main sponsors of the bill are Reps. Keith Kidwell, R-Beaufort, Mark Brody, R-Union, and George Cleveland, R-Onslow. The bill also picked up support from Rep. Donnie Loftis, R-Gaston.

Legislative records show that bill was sent to the House Transportation Committee and, if found favorable, would go to the Rules Committee. Moss is vice chairman of the Transportation Committee and a member of the Appropriations, Transportation Committee. Records show no action since May 26.

William R. Toler contributed to this story.

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