Orange County is well on its way to advancing an eco-friendly agenda.
The county will install two DC Fast Charge electric vehicle charging stations, to supplement their Level-Two public charging stations that are currently in operation.
Orange County ranks fourth in the state for the number of residents owning electric vehicles and has nurtured the growing presence of the plug-in electric vehicles by providing public charging systems, and now by making these stations more efficient.
In 2014, there were 4,170 new electric vehicles purchased across the state.
Brennan Bouma, the county’s sustainability coordinator said Orange County has been on the forefront of electric vehicle charging since the installation of the original Level-Two charging stations.
In 2012 Orange County added sixteen Level-Two charging stations with funding from a grant through the Triangle Clean Cities Coalition. These stations can fully charge a vehicle in four to six hours.
The new DC Fast Chargers will be located behind the Orange County Skills Development Center and behind the District Attorney’s Office on East Margaret Lane. The innovative technology is capable of a charging a vehicle in anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
“Level-Two chargers are what you see that is normally publicly available,” Bouma said. “With DC chargers we will see a significant decrease in charge time.”
John Richardson, planning manager for sustainability for the Town of Chapel Hill, said the chargers bring many benefits for Chapel Hill.
“I think the primary benefit is that they serve as an example project, and, on some level, encourage technology that can be supportive of town goals for climate change mitigation and improving air quality,” Richardson said.
The new DC Fast Charge Stations are the result of a partnership forged between the county and BrightField Transportation Solutions, a North Carolina based company focused on electric vehicle infrastructure. BrightField will cover the expenses of the installation; however, residents will pay $8 per use to use the fast charging stations.
Lacey Wolfe, coordinator for Triangle Clean Cities Coalition, the organization that provided the original thrust for electric vehicle charging stations in Orange County in 2012, said it costs three or four times more to drive on gasoline than it does to operate a vehicle on electricity.
“This expansion of electric vehicle charging centers enable Orange County residents to save money on transportation costs,” she said.
The new charge stations will be available in April. Bouma said a later stage of development will involve the construction of a solar canopy, which ideally will offset the stations’ energy use, making the investment even more sustainable and furthering Orange County’s environmental progression.