RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) – There should be no such thing as a free charge for an electronic vehicle unless there is also free gasoline and diesel fuel for all other motorists. That’s the underlying principle of a bill filed in the North Carolina House that would create strict rules for free charging stations for electric vehicles on both private and public property.

House Bill 1049, filed by four Republicans – including Rep. Ben T. Moss Jr., whose District 66 represents part of the Triad – is called Equitable Free Vehicle Fuel Stations, but it appears to place requirements on the businesses and even the North Carolina Department of Transportation that have charging stations for EVs.

The bill’s summary said that “businesses that provide electric vehicle charging stations to the public at no charge shall include on their receipts the pro rata share paid by each customer for the free electricity and prohibiting the use of public funds to provide or fund electric vehicle charging stations on publicly owned or leased property.”

In fact, the bill states the NC DOT or local governments can’t provide free charging stations unless they also provide free gasoline and diesel fuel. The bill also would provide state funds to remove charging stations that didn’t comply.

N.C. Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford County) (Courtesy of Jon Hardister)
N.C. Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford County) (Courtesy of Jon Hardister)

None of them have responded to an email from WGHP to ask why they think these steps are important, what they are trying to accomplish and what problem they are attempting to address. Neither have several other members of the House from the Triad offered insights about the bill.

In addition to Moss, whose district includes Montgomery County along with Richmond and Stanly counties, the bill’s primary sponsors are Rep. Keith Kidwell (R-Beaufort/Craven), Rep. Mark Brody (R-Anson/Union) and Rep. George Cleveland (R-Onslow).

State Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Whitsett), the House majority whip, said he had “just glanced at the bill” and had not had any conversations about it.

State Rep. Pricey Harrison

“It doesn’t seem to be something that is moving forward,” he said. 

A spokesperson for Rep. Cecil Brockman (D-High Point), a member of the House Energy and Public Utilities Committee, said Brockman was getting his first look at the bill.

“We face a decarbonized future and a transition away from fossil fuels to electric vehicles and will need more EV infrastructure,” said Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Greensboro), also a member of that committee.

EV growth in NC

In fact, the bill would appear counter to the expanding electric vehicle industry nationally and in North Carolina.

The U.S. plans to have 50% of new passenger cars and light trucks sold by 2030 to be electric. Gov. Roy Cooper also has signed an order calling for at least 1.25 million registered zero-emission vehicles in the state by 2030.

North Carolina also is getting a new electric vehicle assembly plant – Vinfast will build all-electric SUVs in Chatham County – and Toyota is building a battery manufacturing facility at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite near Liberty. Combined those investments are said to be worth nearly $8 billion in investments and to create about 10,000 jobs in the next five years.

In February the U.S. Department of Transportation said it would spend $5 billion over five years to build electric vehicle charging stations along interstate highways. North Carolina’s portion of that is $16,137,196.

What the bill requires

But HB 1049 would place restrictions on private businesses and even state government that would appear to contradict such investments. It stipulates that:

  • Any customer who uses an EV station must receive a receipt that lists a charge for that electrical usage.
  • No public funds can be spent on free EV charging stations on state property – even leased property – unless free gasoline and diesel are offered, too.
  • No city or county can spend public money to provide EV charging stations without the required free gasoline and diesel.
  • The state would allocate $50,000 to remove EV charging stations already in place that do not comply with those stipulations.

That latter requirement would appear to address the free vehicle charging stations for both electric and solar vehicles that the city of Greensboro has installed at three locations.

There are more than 150 EV charging stations in Greensboro and High Point, plugshare.com reports. Winston-Salem has more than 120, and across the Triad there are at least 300. Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham-Chapel Hill and Asheville have hundreds more.