Recently filed bills in the N.C. General Assembly aim to ensure electric-vehicle drivers have access to chargers when they’re ready to plug in — whether they’re at home or out and about.
Legislation introduced March 1 in the House and this week in the Senate would make it illegal to park an unplugged vehicle — EV or otherwise — in a space designated for charging.
A separate House bill, meanwhile, would require all newly built single-family homes and duplexes in the state to include an easily accessible, charger-ready electrical circuit.
In addition to protecting EV parking spots, Senate Bill 318 and House Bill 316 would mandate “vertical signage identifying the station as an electric vehicle charging station and indicating that it is only for electric vehicle charging.” The signs would be required to meet standards set by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
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Charging station scofflaws would face a $100 fine.
In the Senate, the legislation’s primary sponsors are Republicans Steve Jarvis, who represents Davidson and Davie counties, and Michael Lazzara of Onslow County, along with Democrat Julie Mayfield from Buncombe County.
On the House side, the charging station bill was introduced by Democrats Deb Butler of New Hanover County, Terry Brown of Mecklenburg County, and Wake County’s Maria Cervania and Julie von Haefen.
Mecklenburg and Wake combined have about 41% of North Carolina’s registered EVs, according to data from the N.C. Department of Transportation.
Seventeen states already have adopted laws aimed at keeping charger spaces available to EV drivers, according to the website pluginsites.org. Virginia and Florida are the only Southern states on that list.
The most severe penalties are in Nevada, where violators face fines of up to $750, and Arizona, which hits illegal parkers with a $350 citation.
A similar charging station bill was introduced in the House in March 2021 but never made it out of committee.
Butler, whose district covers the Wilmington area, also is a primary sponsor for House Bill 318, which would force builders to ensure that new houses and duplexes are “electric-vehicle ready” by providing a parking space near an electrical circuit capable of accommodating a Level 2 charger.
Butler is not among the state’s 53,000 EV owners, but said she plans to join the ranks soon.
She pre-ordered a Rivian SUV some time ago but, like many prospective electric-vehicle owners, is left to wait months for delivery.
“Now I have sticker shock so we shall see (about the purchase),” she said in an email. “But, my goal is to see more of our national parks and the Rivian SUV would be a perfect camping vehicle. See how I rationalized that?”
The state’s largest trade group for the home construction industry, meanwhile, insists there is nothing rational about requiring builders to wire new houses and duplexes for EV chargers.
Making homes charger-ready would add $500 to $3,000 to the cost, depending on voltage needs, according to Tim Minton, executive vice president of the N.C. Homebuilders Association.
“Obviously, a lot of houses are being built with (charger capability) and the homeowner, if they wanted one in a house, they could do that,” Minton said. “We’ve always advocated for some kind of tax credit or tax incentive to encourage (chargers) being built in houses but the legislation doesn’t show that so right now, we’re opposed to it.”
While not addressing the proposed legislation specifically, a spokeswoman for the state’s largest utility said the company embraces growth in electric-vehicle ownership.
“Duke Energy strives to make EVs accessible for those who wish to drive a carbon-neutral vehicle,” said Logan Stewart Kureczka.