WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Electric cars are becoming more popular. Sales are up more than 25 percent in the last year and automakers are pushing the technology as its future.
There are estimates one in every four cars, sold in the United States, could be electric by 2025. The technology is extending its range and cutting down on charge times, but the big concern is whether the infrastructure is keeping pace.
"This is the future. Business owners know it," said Whitney Schmidt, regional director of ChargePoint, the world's largest EV charging network. "They know that they need it. They just don't know what the options are, kind of how it really works. I help put this together."
Schmidt was invited to Wilmington by Cameron Management, an investment management company with a focus on real estate development, brokerage, and property management.
"One of the big sectors we're seeing growth is multi-family housing and commercial real estate," Schmidt said. " Right now, 70-80 percent of EV charging is done at home and at work."
In recent years, more and more charging stations have been popping up along the southeastern North Carolina Coast.
Here's just an example of growth, charted by Polk Data:
- Wilmington is upgrading the stations at Market Street and plans an additional charging station at the 2nd St garage
- There are a number of outdated stations around the area; ChargePoint is working with various stakeholders to upgrade that infrastructure to a networked protocol (which means they are communicative and we can see where they are and what the status of the station is - drivers are also able to navigate to the stations through their smartphone app or select in-dash nav systems)
- Networked stations are similar to computers with internet - communicative, and that's a good thing.
- Older stations tend to be non-networked, which means they do not communicate and people can't find them. These should be upgraded.
- There is a DC Fast charging station being installed right now 30 minutes outside of Wilmington on 40 in Wallace, NC
- Currently, there are over 818k electric vehicles on the road in the US (Polk). NC has close to 10,000 on the road
As of Q4 2017, there are about 200 EVs registered in the Wilmington area, according to Polk Data, but this number is deceiving - drivers served come from all over to vacation, work, visit.
Drivers using charging stations in the area come from the crescent, Charlotte to Raleigh, and as far away as Atlanta and Washington DC.
If you're doing research to see if an electric car is in your future and would like to learn more about the charging technology that's currently available and where it's located: you can start here.