A new bill, dubbed the Equitable Free Vehicle Fuel Stations, has been introduced in North Carolina.
For owners of electric vehicles, easy access to free public charging could be the difference between buying a new EV or not. Toyota is one such example of a company offering free public charging for one year for buyers of the bZ4X, while the much pricier Audi e-tron GT was also launched with complimentary charging. However, not everyone is happy about this. Ben Moss, Republican North Carolina Representative, has introduced a new bill that would effectively ban free public EV chargers in the state. Incredibly, the free charging points would only be allowed if free gas and diesel pumps were also added in the same location - an unrealistic expectation, to say the least, especially in light of record gas prices.
The bill, known as H.B. 1049, applies to a town or county where the free chargers are situated on land that is owned or leased by the state. An amount of $50,000 for the 2022-2023 fiscal year has been set aside for the removal of EV chargers not in compliance with the bill. Earlier this month, Moss tweeted that "taxpayers should not be footing the bill for 'free' electric vehicle charging stations on state and local government property unless the same locations offer gasoline or diesel fuel at no charge."
Also called the Equitable Free Vehicle Fuel Stations bill, it is almost entirely at odds with the efforts of the White House to promote the expansion of charging infrastructure. It also doesn't seem to take into account the vast difference in electricity and fuel costs in America.
Even smaller, private businesses with perhaps a single EV charger will be affected by the new bill. It costs anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 to install an EV charging station.
"The cost of creating a 'free' gas and diesel provision is astronomically higher than the cost of installing an EV charging station, not to mention the environmental impact of such an installation, and the transport of the fuel on an ongoing basis," said members of the Climate Crisis Working Group, Laurie O'Loughlin and Betty Barnett, as per The Pilot.
If it is somehow passed, the bill would be a major blow to EV owners in North Carolina, and to the region's own goals of reducing vehicle emissions. It would also be ironic for such a bill to move forward in a state that is set to welcome massive EV factories soon from both Toyota and Vietnamese brand Vinfast.