Thursday, 07 October 2021 14:53

Tesla chargers coming to Richmond Plaza; Berry Patch site of EV station

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Pee Dee Electric last month installed a ChargePoint electric vehicle charging station at the Berry Patch. Pee Dee Electric last month installed a ChargePoint electric vehicle charging station at the Berry Patch. Russell Parker - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County is expanding charging options for electric vehicle drivers.

Recently, C.F. Smith Property Group announced the installation of a new Tesla Supercharger location in the parking lot of  Richmond Plaza.

“Construction is underway on the new Supercharging station with an opening targeted within a couple of months,” C.F. Smith said in a Sept. 29 Facebook post.

Rockingham will be the latest addition to Tesla’s 25,000-plus global locations. North Carolina has more than 30 that are currently open, according to Tesla’s map. The closest to Richmond County is in Lumberton with the next closest in Charlotte.

Network Installation Specialists LLC, based out of Ball Ground, Georgia, is the contractor for the construction of the chargers.

A spokesperson for NIS said that the Rockingham location will have 12 stalls in total.

“Tesla owns and operates the largest global, fast charging network in the world,” the company’s website reads. “Located on major routes near convenient amenities, Superchargers keep you charged when you're away from home. Simply plug in, charge and go.”

Superchargers are designed to charge an EV from near empty to full in around 15-20 minutes. They’re mostly used for long trips as the vast majority of day-to-day driving can be done at home.

Richmond Plaza will be able to offer folks who charge shopping and eating opportunities while they wait for their EV to charge. The parking spaces will be beside Little Caesars while Fuji Grill, Firehouse Subs and Dunkin’ Donuts are within walking distance. Nearby retail stores include Belk, Foot Locker, Hibbett Sports, Shoe Show, Roses and Rue21.

Currently, Tesla Superchargers are only available to Tesla vehicles, but CEO Elon Musk tweeted in July that the charging network will be open to other electric vehicles “later this year.”

For non-Tesla EVs, Richmond County has two other locations, with one recently opening in the northern end of the county.

In mid-September, local electricity provider Pee Dee Electric installed a level 2 ChargePoint charger in the parking lot of The Berry Patch in Ellerbe.

Berry Patch owner Lee Berry posted to Facebook on Sept. 15, “A big thank you to Pee Dee Electric for choosing The Berry Patch to receive this EV charging station.”

In Hamlet, there are two ChargePoint chargers located in the parking lot across from the depot and visitor’s center. They were installed in the winter of 2017, according to Jonathan Blanton, former city manager.

ChargePoint’s business is solely about building EV chargers and has been in operation since 2007.

ChargePoint says on its website that the company has more than 18,000 stations deployed across the United States and Canada —more locations than McDonald’s (13,890) and Starbucks (14,958).

According to PlugShare — an app that helps EV drivers find and review charging locations — there are also J-1772 charging ports at two local dealerships: one at Dieffenbach GM Superstore and another at Griffin Nissan, both located along U.S. 74 Business.

With the new Rockingham and Ellerbe locations, the total number of EV chargers is up to 18.

(Disclosure: Russell Parker is a Tesla shareholder.)

Construction is underway on a Tesla charging station at Richmond Plaza in Rockingham. (Charlie Melvin - Richmond Observer)