Residents and visitors now have a second location in Elizabeth City to charge their electric vehicles.
An electric vehicle charging station at the Tanglewood McDonald’s went hot Friday and the Elizabeth City Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated the event with a ribbon cutting.
The dual-port charger is the first on private property in the city. The first dual port charging station for electric vehicles in the city was installed downtown at Mariners’ Wharf Park. City Council approved installing the station in 2019.
The McDonald’s project was a two-year effort by Albemarle Electric Membership Corp., local McDonald’s owner Bill Taylor, ChargePoint and the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality. DEQ provided a $75,000 grant for the project, which covered most of the cost for the $100,000 charging station.
Albemarle EMC provided the infrastructure for the station, including installing a transformer that sits next to the charging station.
“We are delighted to play a part in the further electrification of travel,” said Albemarle EMC Public Relations Coordinator Chris Powell. “This project will benefit our community by providing residents and visitors with one more place to charge their vehicles in the amount of time it takes to enjoy a meal at McDonald’s.”
The new charging station is now part of a network of almost 60 North Carolina electric cooperative locations with 100 charging ports across the state. Powell said the average distance between electric cooperative stations is just 52 miles.
“That distance is decreasing all the time,” he said.
N.C. Electric Cooperatives Vice-President of Innovation and Business Development Diane Huis said the organization was excited when it learned that a charging station would located at the Tanglewood McDonald’s.
“We really appreciate site hosts like Mr. Taylor,” Huis said. “You would be amazed how hard it is to get these sited because you need people who are willing to give up a few parking spaces.”
Taylor owns over a dozen McDonald’s in the region and said he hopes to add more spaces for electric vehicle charging stations in the future. Taylor opened his first McDonald’s in the city in 1971.
“Our team is totally convinced that lithium (battery) is a much better approach to driving than fossil fuels,” Taylor said. “Elizabeth City has been very good to us. If not for Elizabeth City, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
Mayor Bettie Parker said she was pleased to see another electric vehicle charging station come to the city.
“This continues to move us in the direction of green energy and getting us settled into the 21st century,” Parker said.
State Rep. Ed Goodwin, R-Chowan, drives a half electric and half gas vehicle to Raleigh and said the General Assembly passed legislation that imposes a $200 fine on a person that parks a non-electric vehicle in a charging station parking spot.
“Mayor Parker, if you get your police department to check on this thing regularly you can pick up some change,” he quipped.
Pasquotank Board of Commissioners Chairman Lloyd Griffin III praised Taylor for continuing to give back to the community.
“The effort that McDonald’s makes to give back to our community is significant,” Griffin said.
Huis said most electric vehicle owners charge at home but that the units like the one at McDonald’s are great for trips. The Tanglewood McDonald’s is located right off U.S. Highway 17 Bypass.
“Most of the newer electric vehicles go at least 200 miles on a full charge,” Huis said.
Huis said it is the equivalent of a $1 gallon of gas when an owner charges at home and around $2 to $2.50 when a charging station is used.
“It takes about 30 to 45 minutes to charge your car up to 80 percent,” Huis said. “They are great for trips. I needed it today because I came from Raleigh.”