History was made Wednesday, Jan. 11, as officials from the N.C. Department of Transportation, N.C. Department of Commerce and Praxis Technologies Inc. joined together to cut the ribbon on one of the first electric vehicle charging stations at a state rest area. The ceremony took place at the Alamance County Rest Area on Interstate 40 and I-85 near Burlington, which is now the site of two charging stations. A Nissan Leaf from Michael Jordan Nissan of Durham was on site to provide a demonstration of the charging stations.
“With this project, the state of North Carolina and its partners are helping lay the groundwork for an infrastructure that will support the increasing number of electric vehicles in North Carolina and the nation,” said State Roadside Environmental Engineer Don Lee.
The electric vehicle charging stations, as well as accompanying educational signage, were provided by Raleigh-based Praxis Technologies Inc. through a grant from the N.C. Department of Commerce Green Business Fund Program. In addition to the charging stations at the Alamance County Rest Area, Praxis provided two more charging stations to NCDOT, which were recently installed at the rest area located along I-40 at the I-95 junction near Benson. The charging stations are classified as “Level 2,” which means they can fully charge a vehicle in six to seven hours. There is no cost for using the stations.
The N.C. Department of Commerce grant, which totaled $247,000, has enabled Praxis to place 20 electric vehicle charging stations in key markets around North Carolina over the past eight months.
The Alamance and Johnston County rest areas were strategically chosen as installation sites. They are high-traffic locations that welcome a combined 1 million visitors annually and additionally are located along commuter routes near major metropolitan areas. This may allow motorists the option of charging their vehicle for a short period of time in order to gain enough charge to travel to another charging station location.
NCDOT continues to work with its private partners to investigate the possibility of installing more charging stations at rest areas in the future, including “Level 3,” stations, which are able to fully charge a vehicle in as little as 30 minutes.