Let me try to “shock” you with some numbers on the growing popularity of electric vehicles.
At the start of this decade, in 2020, only 4% of new car purchases in the United States were electric or hybrid vehicles. Two years later, that number shot up to 14%. By the end of this year, electric cars are expected to account for somewhere between 18 to 20%.
With that type of growth, some New Hanover County leaders believe parking lots need to change.
The county planning board has recommended an ordinance to the Board of Commissioners that would require parking lots to have 20% of spaces dedicated to electric vehicle use with publicly available charging stations. New Hanover County is the first in the state to debate such a motion.
While the future need for electric charging stations is understandable, the issue is not without debate or controversy. At least one group is questioning whether taxpayers should be “charged” with the bill. “The potential upside to the proposal is the creation of clear standards for EV parking spaces and consideration of future modification of existing facilities,” said Tyler Newman, president and CEO of the advocacy group North Carolina Business Alliance for a Sound Economy. “However, the fundamental question is whether local governments should require private investment to bear the cost of installation of EV facilities and provide electricity for the charging of vehicles?”
If approved in its current form, the ordinance would be in effect for any parking lot with 25 or more spaces and would raise the requirement for apartment complexes, hotels, and parking garages to at least 30%. Existing parking lots would have to pay to run the necessary underground lines for electricity.
Right now, there are 55 EV charging stations spread across New Hanover County, with 11 located within the Mayfaire shopping center and 12 downtown.
The county board of commissioners will have the final say on adopting the new regulations at its January meeting.
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