North Carolina bill aims to end scourge of free EV chargers

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North Carolina appears to be at war with itself over electric vehicle charging in the state. As spotted by clean technique, Representative Keith Kidwell and three other sponsors introduced Bill 1049, titled “Equitable Free Vehicle Fuel Stations”. That’s the short title, the brief summary being that Kidwell and company believe everyone should be aware of ‘free’ EV charging or receive the same benefits, no matter what type of car they drive. . The first article states: “Any person who operates a business where charging stations for electric vehicles are made available to the public free of charge must ensure that each customer of the business, whether or not he uses the charging stations , is informed, on the receipt of purchases, of the percentage of the amount of the total purchase price of the customer that results from the free supply by the company of charging stations for electric vehicles.

The subtext of this is that “every customer should know what these EV drivers are getting for free because of your contribution to restaurant coffers”. It is as dishonest as it is absurd, but the bill does not end there.

Section 2 is for free electric vehicle charging stations that the North Carolina Department of Transportation has installed at places like rest areas. This part states that the NC DOT cannot provide free recharging at any location on land owned or leased by the State unless the NC DOT or the person leasing the land “provides gasoline and diesel fuel for motor vehicles via a pump to the public at no charge. If Transport wants to charge Billy’s Ford Mustang Mach-E battery for free, it must also offer to charge Troy’s Ford F-350 for the princely sum of nothing HB 1049 writes the same language in prohibitions for counties and cities of State.

This is not the end. Section 5 requires the state’s general fund to grant DOT $50,000 “for the purpose of removing all electric vehicle charging stations that do not comply with the provisions of this Act.” This part of the bill, according to the bill, comes into force on July 1, whether the bill becomes law or not. The rest of the bill must wait for the proper legislative process, such as the governor signing the law into law, to take effect.

Although some publications believe that “the bill seeks fairness in free vehicle refueling”, it seems ridiculous to us to point out how ridiculous this bill is and how many workarounds there would be for private companies circumvent its guidelines. If the sponsors just didn’t want the state to subsidize charging, fine. But attempting to judge companies in the court of public opinion and also to penalize the state financially is regrettable. The state’s average commercial electricity rate is 8.7 cents per kilowatt hour. Filling the 98.8 kWh gross capacity of this Mach-E’s extended pack would cost the state nearly $8.70, or less than two gallons of North Carolina diesel in today’s market.

We allege the state is at war with itself because elsewhere in the North Carolina state legislature, politicians have sponsored a bill to punish anyone who blocks an EV charger, including EVs unplugged, other representatives touted business opportunities in manufacturing charging stations, and the state discussed how it will prepare for the needs of electric vehicle infrastructure.

We have a feeling there’s a lot more to come as the country drags itself into an EV-laden future.

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