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Local News

Expanding EV infrastructure for environmental equity in NC

Credit: iStock

Shanteya Hudson, Producer

The number of electric vehicles in North Carolina has surged in the past five years, with about 70,000 people now driving them.

Advocates said ensuring equitable access to EV charging infrastructure will be crucial, especially in environmental justice communities. To bridge the gap, the nonprofit CleanAIRE NC has partnered with Go-Station to install a new charging station in Charlotte’s historic West End.

Daisha Wall, community science program manager for CleanAIRE NC, said the initiative is important to ensure the communities can enjoy the environmental benefits EVs offer.

“It’s a priority for the state and for the federal government to decarbonize our transportation sector,” Wall pointed out. “But often you find that when they expand EV charging stations, they are put more in wealthy areas or areas of easy access.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, EVs can produce zero emissions, depending on the electrical source used for charging. Renewable sources like wind and solar make them an even cleaner transportation option.

Ray Addison II, vice president of marketing for Go-Station, explained their focus goes beyond installing hardware in the community. They also fund discounted charging options for residents, and boost local businesses through targeted advertising. Addison envisions installing charging stations in underserved areas as a catalyst for economic growth, equity and community development.

“Imagine having charging stations, in and throughout the historic West End or underserved communities, that actually facilitate additional retail transactions, and bringing customers that some of these locations would never have had,” Addison suggested. “You really have this opportunity that starts with economy, then transitions to equity.”

Addison added the new charger will be located at 2020 Beatties Ford Road in Charlotte. At the state level, Gov. Roy Cooper has set a goal to have more than 1 million zero-emission vehicles registered, and 50% of vehicle sales be EVs by 2030.

Disclosure: CleanAIRE NC contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment, and Environmental Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

This story is republished from Public News Service under a Creative Commons license. Read the original story.