Electric Vehicle Q&A
Answers about EV numbers and battery sustainability
Our recent coverage of electric vehicles (EVs) and charging options has generated a few questions from readers. Here are some answers, from industry experts.
Q: How quickly are we adding EV charging stations?
A: The electric cooperative’s charging network across North Carolina has been steadily growing since 2016, with more than 100 charging ports available across the state. Last year, 20 charging stations (typically with one or two ports) were added, and this year we’re on track to install a similar number. Including co-op chargers and others in the state, there are currently more than 2,000 public charging ports in North Carolina, according to Advanced Energy. (Learn about chargers at hot spots on the coast on page 28.)
As for national numbers, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is tracking trends. During the first three months of 2020, individual EV charging outlets and charging stations grew 7.6%, according to NREL.
Q: How many EVs are in North Carolina?
A: North Carolina is currently home to about 26,500 EVs, and that number is primed to take off as new models and vehicle types are introduced, according to Advanced Energy’s Jacob Bolin. In the pickup market, Ford’s F-150 Lightning, Tesla’s Cybertruck and newcomer Rivian’s R1T are all expected to arrive soon.
Q: EV batteries contain minerals like cobalt and lithium. What is being done to ensure they’re sustainable?
A: North Carolina’s electric cooperatives often work with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in researching and developing new technology in our industry. As EPRI puts it, “there is a push to take cost, complexity, and consequences out of the entire battery supply chain while maintaining the power, energy and lifespan (cost) required by an automotive-grade electric vehicle battery.”
EPRI is also researching strategies to address the removal, disposal and recycling of the type of lithium ion batteries used in EVs.
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