By - Jim Vess

Duke Energy proposes a $76 million EV charging station program in North Carolina

Energize Weekly, April 10, 2019

Duke Energy has filed a plan with North Carolina regulators for a three-year, $76 million pilot plan to add electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and promote the growth of the vehicles in the state.

“North Carolina’s current pace of EV infrastructure availability cannot support the current and future pace of EV growth, and as EV adoption increases, more investment in EV charging infrastructure is necessary to sustain market growth,” Duke Energy said in its filing with the North Carolina Utilities Commission.

There are only 43 fast-charging in the state with 86 access plugs in the entire state, according to the filing. Overall, North Carolina has about 600 public charging stations. The pilot program could lead to 2,500 new charging stations.

Since 2011, the North Carolina EV market has grown at an annual rate of 39 percent with 2,055 passenger EVs registered in the state in 2017 with more than 10,000 plug-in and all-electric vehicles on the road. EVs made up 1.1 percent of the state’s light-duty vehicle market in 2018, the filing said.

Forecasts are that by 2025, EVs will make up from 3 percent to 8 percent of all light-duty vehicles, the filing said. The key to growth, however, is an adequate charging infrastructure.

The aim of the EV pilot program is to “to assess different charging load profiles from residential EV, fleet EV, school bus EV, transit bus EV, and DC Fast Charging (“DCFC”) in North Carolina,” the filing said.

The North Carolina program is similar to a $10.4 million pilot Duke Energy submitted to the Public Service Commission of South Carolina.

The proposed North Carolina pilot has five components:

  • A residential EV charging program that will provide a $1,000 rebate for qualifying Level II charging stations for up to 800 residential customers. Level II charging allows customers to charge their EVs up to six times faster than a standard wall outlet.
  • A public charging program under which Duke Energy will install and operate more than 800 public charging stations across the state, including DCFC, Public Level II and multifamily locations. This will expand the state’s EV charging station network.
  • A fleet EV charging program that will provide a $2,500 rebate for 900 qualifying charging stations for commercial and industrial customers operating fleets that are transitioning to electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Municipalities and universities also qualify for these rebates.
  • An EV school bus charging station program under which Duke Energy will provide financial support to eligible customers to procure up to 85 electric school buses. Duke Energy will install the associated charging infrastructure.
  • An EV transit bus charging station program where Duke Energy will install and operate more than 100 electric transit bus charging stations for eligible transit agencies electing to procure electric buses.

“This initiative will help accelerate public and private EV use while also reducing carbon emissions,” Lang Reynolds, Duke Energy’s director of electrification strategy, said in a statement.

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