Randolph Electric Membership Corporation, the North Carolina Zoo and ChargePoint held a ribbon-cutting ceremony the morning of Monday, July 23, to celebrate four newly installed electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at the Zoo. Secretary of the NC Department of Environmental Quality Michael S. Regan, state legislators, Asheboro city councilmen, Randolph County commissioners and representatives from North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives were in attendance to show support for this joint effort in providing access to EV technologies for both locals and tourists.
Randolph EMC partnered with ChargePoint to provide two charging stations at the Zoo’s Solar Pointe location and two at the North America entrance. Each Energy Star®-rated Level 2 station features dual charging ports with standard connectors that are capable of charging any electric vehicle. Each port supplies up to 7.2 kW to charge at a maximum rate of 25 miles of Range Per Hour (RPH), which will fully charge most vehicles in less than four hours.
These stations are among the first in a statewide network of electric vehicle charging stations being developed by the 26 electric cooperatives in North Carolina. “With the world’s largest and most open EV charging network, ChargePoint is a natural partner for helping to manage the growing demand for this technology,” said Dale Lambert, CEO of Randolph EMC. “And because the cooperative has enjoyed a long-standing, positive relationship with the North Carolina Zoo that includes mutual success with other ‘green’ initiatives, we knew that they would be supportive of implementing this technology as well.” he added.
“The EV chargers highlight the North Carolina Zoo’s commitment to the environment and sustainable practices,” said Mary Joan Pugh, deputy director for the North Carolina Zoo, who spearheaded the collaboration with REMC on behalf of the Zoo. The Zoo serves as a leader in local and global efforts to protect wildlife and places heavy emphasis on incorporating alternative and clean energies whenever possible.
“We’re very proud of our conservation efforts over the years, which has earned us recognition as one of just 29 Environmental Stewards with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality,” she added. This high honor is awarded to organizations who use innovative approaches to meet and go beyond regulatory requirements for reducing their impact on the environment.
“This is also an exciting project because these chargers are among the first in North Carolina located at a major paid attraction that is served by an electric cooperative,” said Pugh. Even with major interstates across the state, it’s impossible for vacationers to reach North Carolina’s mountains and beaches without passing through rural communities, and the Zoo’s location in rural Randolph County is directly in the path of many travelers.
Because they serve predominantly rural areas, NC electric co-ops are taking the initiative to create a network of charging stations across the state that will not only support tourism by accommodating the charging needs of travelers, but also facilitate access to electric vehicle technologies in rural communities. “For more than a decade ChargePoint has remained focused on supporting the mass adoption of electric vehicles,” said Whitney Schmidt, sales director for ChargePoint. “ChargePoint’s mission is to help everyone get behind the wheel of an EV by deploying charging solutions everywhere drivers charge. We are excited to partner with the North Carolina Zoo and Randolph Electric to make charging more accessible for all EV drivers.”
The Zoo is providing the electricity for charging vehicles free of charge, but does give visitors the opportunity to give a donation to the NC Zoo Society in return. Since their installation in late April, more than 140 EVs from as far west as Nashville, Tennessee, and as far east as Greenville, North Carolina, have utilized the stations, using more than 1,500 kWhs of electricity.
There's a growing trend toward electric vehicles, and Randolph EMC is here to help EV owners plug in to savings!