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USA: Triangle’s network of car-charging stations continues to grow

Two more sets of car-charging stations will soon be 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.

The Durham Museum of Life and Science will make two car-charging stations available starting Saturday. Meanwhile, Morrisville postponed plans to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony on a pair of charging stations Friday in the parking lot of the town Chamber of Commerce, but plans to reschedule soon. 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 will 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.

“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 part of 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.

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