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Gov. Cooper wants more electric vehicles in NC. Will NCDOT’s plan make it happen?

Energy By the Numbers: Electric Vehicles

The United States has one of the largest electric vehicle fleets in the world. This video breaks down all the numbers on EVs.
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The United States has one of the largest electric vehicle fleets in the world. This video breaks down all the numbers on EVs.

Last fall, as part of his executive order on climate change and clean energy, Gov. Roy Cooper asked the N.C. Department of Transportation to develop a plan to significantly increase the number of zero-emission vehicles on the road in North Carolina.

Now NCDOT is seeking the public’s feedback on its plan to promote electric cars and trucks before it goes to the governor on Oct. 1. The state has posted the plan at www.ncdot.gov/initiatives-policies/environmental/climate-change/Pages/electric-vehicles.aspx and will accept comments through Friday, Sept. 6.

The plan lays out several strategies for increasing the number of electric vehicles registered in North Carolina from about 6,000 last fall to 80,000 by 2025. Cooper set the goal as part of a broader effort to reduce North Carolina’s greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 and to promote clean energy technologies and businesses in the state.

The electric vehicle strategies fall into four areas:

Education: Help potential buyers and sellers of electric vehicles, including the public, dealerships and fleet owners, understand what’s available, what it costs to buy and operate and the options for charging.

Convenience: Help make it easier to charge an electric vehicle, by increasing the availability of charging stations and making sure drivers can find them.

Affordability: Help reduce the costs of buying an electric vehicle, possibly through financial incentives and by helping to develop a market for used electric cars and trucks.

Policy: Adopt government policies that promote the use of electric vehicles and revise or remove those that discourage it.

NCDOT says more than 1,200 individuals and organizations helped craft the plan, including local governments, environmental groups, university researchers, utility companies and automakers such as Tesla and Nissan.

It appears that North Carolina will have help from manufacturers in persuading people to switch to electric vehicles in the coming years. Automakers in Europe, Asia and North America are developing new electric models; GM, which says it envisions an “all-electric future,” says it plans to introduce 20 by 2023. Even Harley Davidson has gone electric, introducing the LiveWire electric motorcycle this year.

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Richard Stradling covers transportation for The News & Observer. Planes, trains and automobiles, plus ferries, bicycles, scooters and just plain walking. Also, #census2020. He’s been a reporter or editor for 32 years, including the last 20 at The N&O. 919-829-4739, rstradling@newsobserver.com.
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