(WGHP) — There is a new plan to provide a network of charging stations for those electric vehicle batteries that eventually will be built at the Greensboro Randolph Megasite.
North Carolina will receive more than $16 million this year in a program announced today by the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Energy to provide $5 billion over the next five years to establish charging stations along interstate highways.
The connection to the megasite is Toyota’s announcement in December that it would spend $1.272 billion by 2026 to build its first electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant on the parcel near Liberty. That plant eventually could employ nearly 4,000 as auto manufacturers move toward fulfilling goals for having electric vehicles on the roads.
In North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper recently issued an executive order that called for the development of 80,000 zero-emission vehicles by 2025. All major manufacturers have launched lines of electric vehicles. Availability of charging stations has been a concern for consumers who are considering buying one of the vehicles.
The federal program announced today, part of the $1 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill approved by Congress last year, requires states to have such plans in place before they can tap into the $615 million that is available this year. That’s how North Carolina was designated to receive $16,137,196.
The announcement said there would be a second, competitive grant program later this year that would expand EV charging stations to rural and underserved communities.
North Carolina – and all states – must submit an EV Infrastructure Deployment Plan to the new Joint Office of Energy and Transportation to outline how the state would use its allocated dollars. These plans would expand on alternative fuel corridors that have been developed in the past six years.
“The market’s shift to electric vehicles presents opportunities to benefit our economy and environment,” Cooper said in a tweet to promote the announcement, “but only if we’re ready. These federal funds will help ensure easily accessible charging infrastructure and keep North Carolina on the move.”
Data from 2020 compiled by the NC Department of Transportation said there were about 24,000 electric vehicles – both electric battery and plug-in hybrids – registered in the state. Auto manufactures have said they would have about 100 pure EVs available by 2024.
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is helping states to make electric vehicle charging more accessible by building the necessary infrastructure for drivers across America to save money and go the distance, from coast-to-coast,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said in a release announcing the program.