RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — More and more people are buying electric cars and as a result, there are a number of free charging stations here in the Triangle.
However, some lawmakers want those free charging stations to go away.
The representatives behind House Bill 1049, known as the Equitable Free Vehicle Fuel Stations Bill are looking to “short circuit” the effort to install more publicly owned car charging stations and instead remove ones that the government already picks up the tab for.
Some North Carolina Lawmakers say you have to pay for your parking and you have to pay for your gasoline, so why should your electric vehicle be charged for free?
“You’re giving something for free to somebody at the expense of the taxpayers,” contends Representative Mark Brody (R), who is a co-sponsor of the proposed bill.
It would eliminate taxpayer funded charging stations unless gasoline and diesel fuel is also provided to the public at no charge.
“I think it’s discouraging to EV owners,” said Dan Bourque, who is an EV Hybrid vehicle owner. “The idea is you want to promote the benefits of EV and having a free charger is a really good idea to let people take advantage of the opportunity to use an EV.”
Free charging stations abound. The city of Raleigh offers some – one of which was used by Jenny Cabrera.
“This one is free, but when I charge my car where I pay, I pay about a dollar or two at the most,” Cabrera said.
CBS 17 also found many free charging stations on the campus of NC State where electric vehicle drivers are encouraged to support and promote EV use on campus.
When Brody was asked if he would like to have the state charge for these stations instead of providing them for free, he said, “if the state is going to provide them—yes.”
Brody said those charges should be at the market rate for the cost of electricity and not at a discount subsidized by the state.
The bill would also require any business providing free charging stations to paying customers to show on a receipt the percentage of the purchase price that goes toward the free charge.
There’s also a provision in the bill to give NC DOT $50,000 to remove charging stations which don’t comply with the provisions of the bill. (That means by providing the free gas or diesel.)
CBS 17 also found a charging station owned by the Department of Administration just blocks away from the general assembly.
When Sbraccia contacted the DOA about the pending bill, it declined to comment saying the bill has not been approved by lawmakers.
Indeed, it remained in committee when this year’s short session ended, but one of the bill’s sponsors says, in the next session, free EV charging advocates will see, it hasn’t been forgotten.
“I think they’ve gotten the message by the bill that it just isn’t going to be acceptable,” said Brody.
He did say, if the Federal Government were to subsidize the installation of free charging stations and the state accepted that money, North Carolina would be obligated to install free charging stations.