Published October 1, 2012
By Philippe Crowe
When people think of electric vehicle readiness, states like California, Texas, and Oregon come to mind.
One state that is quietly surprising the nation is South Carolina.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy's alternative fuel locator, South Carolina ranks eighth in public charging station locations per capita. South Carolina has 106 locations for its 4.6 million residents. This is close behind California, which places sixth and ahead of Texas, which places fifteenth. Oregon is on top of the list with 258 public locations for its 3.9 million residents.
South Carolina also hosts a unique network. Plug In Carolina is a non-profit coalition that educates the public on electric vehicle benefits. Earlier this year, they secured a grant from the Walmart Foundation that purchases green energy for sixty public charging station locations across the state.
James Poch, Executive Director of Plug In Carolina, sees the network's monthly activity.
“It's a joy to see people charge up across the state,” he said. “With unrest in major oil producing countries creating unstable oil prices, I am proud we have an alternative.”
The state is also one of 10 across the nation to have a state income tax credit for qualified electric vehicles. This supports a growing cluster of companies serving the new industry. Examples include Proterra Inc., the nation's only battery electric bus manufacturer, REMA USA, a manufacturer of electric vehicle connectors, and SEW-Eurodrive who is commercializing wireless charging for electric vehicles.
Spartanburg South Carolina is a city of 40,000 residents and an example of the state's success. The city has twelve public charging station locations and a supportive group of stakeholders. Tonight, Saturday Sept. 28, at its Jazz On The Square event, the city will accept Plug In Carolina's 2012 Plug In City Of The Year.
Plug In Carolina is a non-profit established in 2006. It has the support of SCE&G, Santee Cooper, Progress Energy, Lockhart Power, SC Electric Cooperatives, and SEW-Eurodrive. For the last six years, Plug In Carolina has educated the public on the environmental, economic, and national security benefits of plug in vehicles.