Owning an EV in North Carolina: Charging Cost, Incentives, and More

hummer ev vs silverado ev

Owning an EV in North Carolina: Charging Cost, Incentives, and More

North Carolina has everything to offer. From the exquisite beaches in the east to cozy mountain cabins in the west, it’s a state that offers something for everyone. But how do EV owners fare in North Carolina? We’ll cover EV incentives, costs, and charging infrastructure in the Tar Heel state below.

Whether you’re taking a trip to North Carolina or you call the state home, we’ll give you an insider’s view into the EV charging situation.

EV Charging Infrastructure in North Carolina

Can you comfortably drive to the Tail of the Dragon in your Tesla Model S and get back to the Outer Banks for supper? Or will you be stranded, hoping someone with a generator will rescue you in the North Carolina wilderness?

North Carolina has a vast charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, but there’s more work to be done before travelers can enjoy a long trip without concern. Let’s take a look at public charging stations and North Carolina’s plans for the future.

Public Charging Stations

At the time of writing, North Carolina has 3,172 EV charging stations, with 807 in the greater Charlotte area alone. You’ll find many Level 1, 2, and 3 chargers throughout the state (in populated areas).

You’ll find the majority of EV charging stations in Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham-Chapel Hill, and Asheville, North Carolina. But even rural areas are likely to have a charging station within an acceptable distance.

You can check updated charging station locations in North Carolina here.

North Carolina EV Charging Outlook

North Carolina’s Department of Transportation deployed the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Plan in August of 2022. Using federal grants and state funds, the goal is to add more electric vehicle stations along well-traveled routes like the interstates and major highways.

Per a 2018 Executive Order, North Carolina aims to have a comfortable infrastructure that supports 80,000 electric vehicles by 2025. Federal grants and cooperation with Duke Energy will further improve N.C.’s charging station infrastructure.

Cost of EV Ownership in North Carolina

Not every state makes it easy to charge electric vehicles. But what about the cost? While North Carolina is trailblazing through improved infrastructure, is it cost-effective to own an electric vehicle in North Carolina? We’ll break down the public and private costs of charging EVs in North Carolina in this section.

Cost of Public Charging

Folks from North Carolina can catch a break on public charging station fees at the Level 1 free stations (there are 130 of those in the greater Charlotte area). But Level 1 chargers don’t work very quickly.

So, what is the cost of faster and more efficient chargers in N.C.? Well, of the hundreds of DCFC stations (fast charging), you’ll spend somewhere between $10-$40 for a full charge. If you equate time to money, the cost is well worth the hours it takes to charge for free.

However, there are many Level 2 stations as well. These won’t charge nearly as fast as the DCFC chargers, but they are faster than the Level 1. Level 2 chargers run between $0.20-$0.30/kWh. This means that a full charge can be about the same price as the faster DCFC chargers.

Cost of Charging at Home

Those who live in North Carolina may wonder what their electric bills will look like after buying an EV. Well, Duke Energy averages $0.12/kWh for residential customers. If we consider an EV battery that takes 50kWh from depleted to full, you’re still saving quite a bit of money over fuel costs.

Registration Fees

When everyone drove gas-powered vehicles, the state received tax revenue for roads, bridges, etc. The inclusion of electric cars, however, prompted state lawmakers to tack on additional registration fees for electric vehicles to recoup this loss.

Those in North Carolina will pay an additional $140 fee when registering an EV. While this may seem high or unfair, the tax for fuel is per mile. So, you’ll likely still come out ahead.

EV Incentives in North Carolina

Tax credits and rebates are excellent incentives for purchasing electric vehicles. So, what can N.C. offer its residents? People in N.C. can take advantage of charging rebates and reduced energy bills.

Tax Credits

While the Federal tax credit is available to North Carolina residents, the state doesn’t offer additional tax credits. Those purchasing used electric vehicles (older than two years) may qualify for tax credits worth up to $4000. Others can receive up to $7,500 in federal credits. But again, those are federal incentives.

Additional Incentives

Those in the Randolph Electric Membership Corporation and Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative will pay reduced rates for EV charging and rebates for installing Level 2 chargers in the home. If you live in an area with rebates, you can save a little money on your electric bill as long as you charge your car during non-peak times.

Randolph EMC also offers a rebate of up to $500 for consumers who purchase and install a Level 2 charger at home.

Essentially, North Carolina doesn’t offer a lot of EV incentives to all its residents. But the power companies in some areas offer rebates and lower power rates.

So, what does all of this mean for those ready to buy an EV in North Carolina? If you’re in the market, but want to know how much it will cost you to charge, here’s a list of some of the most popular EVs and their charging costs.

Ford F-150 Lightning

According to Ford, the F-150 Lightning takes 14 hours to charge with a 220V charger, and just under two hours with a 240V charger. Considering the cost of power in North Carolina is $0.12/kWh, the Ford Lightning will cost about $16 per charge.

F-150 Lightning vs Rivian R1t
With the Ford Mobile Power Cord, your F-150 lighting extended-range battery is fully charged (15%-100%) in 20 hours.

©Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock.com

Tesla Model Y

The Tesla Y Model is another popular electric car. It has a 75kWh battery, so we’re looking at less than $12/hour to charge from empty to full in North Carolina.

chevy bolt vs tesla model y
The Tesla Y has an estimated range of 330 miles on a single charge.

©Roschetzky Photography/Shutterstock.com

Tesla Model S

The Tesla Model S is another fan-favorite of those buying EVs in N.C. Its 83kWh battery can get you anywhere from 300-350 miles. The cost to charge up a Tesla Model S is about $12 per charge in North Carolina.

You can recharge the Tesla Model S up to 200 miles in 15 minutes at Supercharger locations.


Where to Buy Electric Vehicles in North Carolina

If you’re convinced you need to buy an electric vehicle in N.C., you’ll need to know where to look. These days, most manufacturers offer some version of gas-powered cars and trucks that are fully electric. You can buy new and used electric vehicles on most car lots in North Carolina.

However, if you’re looking for a Tesla, you’ll only find dealerships in Raleigh and Matthews. Some states don’t have Tesla dealerships due to franchise laws, but if that’s what you’re in the market for, you’re in luck. Although, you may have to travel a bit to pick one up.

Drive Electric North Carolina

North Carolina continues to expand its EV infrastructure, and some local power companies offer incentives for those willing to purchase one. However, North Carolina doesn’t have any tax credits to offer its residents at this time.

Those traveling any major interstate in North Carolina should have no problem finding a fast charger, or at least a Level 2 charger along the routes. Overall, the state seems to be working toward boosting EV travel and purchases.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I buy an EV in North Carolina?

While North Carolina doesn’t offer specific tax credits (outside federal ones), and it does have an additional registration fee for EVs, many will save money and enjoy comfortable commutes in the state. If you live in a populated area and one that offers incentives on your electric bill, it’s a great time to buy an EV in N.C.

How often do I need to worry about charging my EV?

The answer to this question depends on your vehicle, how you drive, and whether you use in-cab features like heat/AC.

However, EVs range from 80 miles (on the low end) to over 400 miles per charge.

Why do I have to pay an additiona registration fee for an EV in North Carolina?

Those driving gas-powered vehicles pay a per-mile tax for road maintenance. EVs don’t have fuel to pay taxes on, so owners pay an additional registration fee instead.

How many EVs are registered in North Carolina?

At the end of 2021, there were over 21,000 electric vehicles registered in North Carolina. The state aims to increase that number to 80,000 before 2025.

Will an EV save me money in North Carolina?

Yes. If we consider the cost of a gallon of fuel at $2, oil changes every 5,000 miles, and road tax, you’ll likely save money with an electric vehicle. Although, some exceptions to the rule do exist.

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