Business
6:35 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Triad Adding to State's E V Charging Stations

Electric car owners can charge up in the Triad.

Owners of electric cars can charge up their battery in Winston-Salem. This station is on Main Street below Old Salem and near the entrance to the Greenway.
Owners of electric cars can charge up their battery in Winston-Salem. This station is on Main Street below Old Salem and near the entrance to the Greenway.
Credit City of Winston-Salem

The number of charging stations for hybrid car owners is increasing in North Carolina. Last year, Winston-Salem installed one below Old Salem on Main Street. It sits on the east side of the round-about near the tennis courts and the entrance to the Greenway. Wendell Hardin is the sustainability manager for the City of Winston-Salem. He says this 2-car charging station was built to fill a gap for people traveling statewide in electric cars. "Right now we need a network across the state, on one end we have Raleigh and on the other end we have Asheville and Charlotte but there was no connection in between, there was a big hole," explains Hardin. "So Winston-Salem looked at the opportunity of providing a charging station."

Greensboro is also installing a charging station. According to The News and Record, earlier this week, Greensboro's city council approved the project. It will be built at the South Elm Street public parking lot next to the downtown Ham’s Restaurant. Asheville-based Brightfield Transportation Solutions will install it at no cost to Greensboro. The paper reports, Brightfield will pay Greensboro $1 a year for space in the parking lot. The agreement is good for 10 years, after which the city may buy the equipment. Brightfield says the station will have two charging outlets and a DC fast charger, which can power a vehicle in 30 minutes. People who use the spaces will be charged the regular city parking fees (50 cents at the meter) and an additional cost to plug in of perhaps $1.50 an hour. That plug-in fee goes to Brightfield. Alamance County is also home to a charging station. In January, it opened at a North Carolina Department of Transportation rest area.

Winston-Salem used funds from The American Recovery Act to build the station. It has level 2 batteries and charges a car in about three hours. "We tract the usage over the summer, we found a lot of out of town users," says Hardin. "I've seen cars with Colorado plates there. We also have a professor at the
School of the Arts who will drive down, plug in his vehicle and walk back up to the school while it's charging."

Currently in Winston-Salem, there is no fee to use the charging station next to the Greenway. But Hardin says beginning in May, drivers will pay under $2.00 per hour for charging. He also says the city is considering purchasing other electric car charging stations in the future and hopes area businesses will install them if they have a number of employees who drive electric cars. Hardin estimates North Carolina has about 100 e v charging stations.