RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) – Another piece of the market for electric vehicles will be built in North Carolina.
The Economic Investment Committee of the NC Department of Commerce approved incentives Tuesday to lure the newly created Kempower Inc. to build a manufacturing facility for electric-vehicle charging stations in Durham.
This follows Toyota’s construction of a manufacturing facility for electric vehicle batteries at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite, announced in December 2021, VinFast’s plan to build electric SUVs in Chatham County and an expansion of the microchip manufacturer Wolfspeed in Chatham County.
Kempower, a subsidiary of a company based in Finland, will invest $41.25 million by Dec. 31, 2027, and occupy two buildings in Durham. The EIC approved more than $4.2 million in incentives, and Durham County has promised another $115,000.
The company would hire a workforce of 306 by 2028, with 10 of those jobs working remotely. The average annual salary in 2024-25 would be about $85,376, and in 2026 that would rise to $88,440. Durham County’s median annual wage is more than $86,000, the committee said.
“North Carolina’s global reputation as a clean energy manufacturing powerhouse continues to grow,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a release distributed after the meeting. “Electric vehicle charging stations are a key component of our transportation infrastructure and we welcome these high-wage clean energy jobs that Kempower brings to our state.”
The committee was told that Kempower conducted a national evaluation of potential sites, mostly on the Eastern Seaboard, and, because of state regulations and potential workforce, narrowed its focus to Tennessee, Virginia and NC. After site visits, that choice narrowed to Virginia and North Carolina.
The Walden economic forecast tool suggested that by Dec. 31, 2035, the project could add $726 million to the state’s gross domestic product and provide $11.2 million in state revenues.
EV charging in North Carolina
Under the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, North Carolina is scheduled to receive $16 million this year and $109 million from the $5 billion being invested nationally in the next five years to establish charging stations along interstate highways. Some of those funds were released earlier than expected.
On Aug. 1 the NC Department of Transportation published its deployment plan to expand on the existing 2,655 charging ports, and this acceleration will provide $39.4 million toward that process. That’s a 2-phase project that builds out first along what officials like to call Alternate Fuel Corridors (or AFCs).
Those corridors essentially are existing interstate highways (I-40, I-85, I-73 and I-74 in the Piedmont Triad), and the state’s plan calls for Phase 1 to begin last October with public listening sessions to expand the number of program-compliant stations along the designated AFCs in North Carolina.
The federal plan calls for charging stations every 50 miles along interstates and within 1 mile along each “corridor.” Each charging station must have four chargers of 150 kilowatts each.
Kempower is a member of the Kemppi-Group, which has been around since 1949 and claims to have introduced the first inverter DC-based power source in the world.
The company has been involved in charging stations since 2014, and Kempower was formed in 2017. It also has facilities in Sweden, and this plan expands its position in North America.
The company not only constructs standard and mobile charging stations but also provides a satellite system that can be accessed through a smartphone.