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USA: Morrisville gets car-charging stations

Two more sets of car-charging stations are being unveiled in the Triangle, part of a growing effort to test the technology as well as assure owners of electric vehicles that they won’t be too far from a charge.

Morrisville recently postponed plans to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony on a pair of charging stations in the parking lot of the town Chamber of Commerce but plans to reschedule soon. Meanwhile, the Durham Museum of Life and Science was set to make two car-charging stations available starting Saturday. Both sets of chargers are free and open to the public.

Demand for the stations remains modest at best; all-electric vehicles like the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf remain an unusual sight on Triangle roads.

But it’s important to lay the groundwork for electric cars so that drivers consider them a viable option, said Jeff Barghout, director of transportation initiatives for Advanced Energy, a North Carolina-based nonprofit that works to help utilities develop energy efficiency measures, such as Duke Energy’s plug-in vehicle study.

“It’s a ‘the chicken or the egg’ situation,” Barghout said.

The Morrisville stations are part of a two-year study started by Progress Energy to understand the impact of charging vehicles on the electric grid. The company, now Duke Energy, is using the stations to track how often they are used and when. Duke will track the stations’ use until the program ends in April.

Duke has installed 42 stations across the state, 18 of them in the Triangle. In addition to the chargers at the Durham Museum of Life and Science, the company hopes to install six more before the end of the study.

Duke Energy won’t release data on the stations until the study ends, but Advanced Energy’s Barghout said their use has increased over the period of the study.

Duke Energy’s charging stations are far from the only ones on the street. The city of Raleigh has installed several units as part of its plan to become a national leader in electric-vehicle preparations.


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