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home : state news : e-state news March 25, 2023

2/17/2023 11:16:00 AM
NC DAQ Awards Grants for Charging Stations

Wayne Howard

The NC Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Air Quality (DAQ) issued $172,000 in new rebates this month to help fund the installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The money comes from a settlement with automaker Volkswagen, which misrepresented some of its diesel vehicles as cleaner than they actually were.

To date, DAQ has awarded more than $1.4 million in rebates across three programs. Still available is more than $175,000 for Multi-Unit Dwelling rebates, $313,900 for Workplace rebates, and $149,000 for Public Access rebates.

Only three of the new rebates announced this month went to locations in our area (Lincoln, Gaston, Catawba and Cleveland counties). None of them went to Lincoln County. The three locations that were chosen were:

the Western Piedmont Council of Government, 2nd Ave. NW in Hickory; the town of Boiling Springs, 109 S. Main St. in Cleveland County; and Martha Rivers Park, 1515 Neal Hawkins Rd. in Gastonia.

Like it or not, electric vehicles are coming. Despite sticker shock (they're quite expensive) and other negative factors, more North Carolinians are joining in the move to electric vehicles.

President Biden's massive trillion dollar infrastructure bill includes billions for helping the country transition to electric vehicles. For North Carolina, that legislation earmarked $109 million over five years to build out the state's network of charging stations. It also opened the door for the state to apply for billions more in grant funding to further expand its network.

Gov. Roy Cooper also is also pushing electric vehicles with his executive orders. Cooper signed a new order in January that calls for an increase in registered zero-emission vehicles to at least 1.25 million by 2030, nearly 40 times the current number registered in the Tar Heel State. The initiative also pushes for 50% of sales of new vehicles to be zero-emission by 2030.

The move to EVs is also having an effect on manufacturing. Toyota's first EV battery plant will be in Randolph County, and a Vietnamese EV maker, Vinfast, will build its first US plant in Chatham County.

The Wall Street Journal says that 10% of all new cars sold last year were electric. In 2019, EVs accounted for only 1.54% of new car sales. In California, the state with the most EV sales, the percentage went from just over 5% in 2019 to 18% last year.

Both federal and state governments (including North Carolina) are offering tax credits for going electric, but limitations make collecting the full amount difficult.

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