Ribbon-Cutting Of Duke Energy’s First Park & Plug Charger In South Carolina Held At South Of The Border

The ribbon-cutting of Duke Energy’s first Park & Plug charger in South Carolina was held at South of the Border on Friday, September 24th.
Several chargers are being installed across the state “conveniently located along major interstates and highways and will be coordinated with other utilities across the state and region,” according to Ryan Mosier of Duke Energy Corporate Communications.
Several local officials and others gathered for the event.
Mindy Taylor of Duke Energy opened the program and welcomed everyone.
Jim Poch, Duke Energy’s Electric Transportation Manager for South Carolina, said South of the Border’s owners, Richard and Ryan Schafer, were among the earliest owners to sign their business up for the program.
Poch explained how this all came to fruition. “At Duke Energy, we’ve been watching the evolution of electric transportation for many years. We saw for ourselves the performance of electric vehicles, their quick acceleration, their quiet drive. We saw businesses reducing fuel and maintenance costs, we saw an opportunity to reduce emissions to meet our environment goals, and more importantly, we saw a need for us to learn more,” Poch said. “That’s why we requested permission from the Public Service Commission of South Carolina to conduct an Electric Transportation Pilot Program, which included the creation a foundational electric vehicle charging network. We realized our customers wouldn’t feel comfortable about purchasing EVs unless they had the comfort of knowing they could drive from one end of our service territory to the other,” he said.
“The commission approved our request and today we will make the first charge from the first of 30 EV Fast Charger sites across Duke Energy territories in South Carolina,” Poch said.
The chargers at South of the Border are state-of-the-art BTC 150 kW Electric Vehicle Fast Chargersm, which can power all electric vehicles being produced today, Poch said. “These chargers are on the Greenlots network, which is a mobile phone app that helps customers locate the charging station, show their availability status, and make payment for the charging. The fee to charge at the station is set on a per kilowatt hour basis and is currently 35 cents per kilowatt hour,” he explained.
“South of the Border is a perfect site for this infrastructure as it sees a high volume of traffic, is well lit, offers restrooms, food and many other amenities. This is only the first of 30 such installations and will soon be followed by other sites much like it. We have construction taking place in Lee County and another will also be opened soon in Marion County. We expect to have all 30 sites charging vehicles in South Carolina by next summer,” Poch said.
Mike Callahan, Duke Energy South Carolina President, said electric vehicle have come a long way since they first came out. “Electric vehicles have come a long way since the first models hit the road. Not only are they cleaner for the planet and environment, but they help save on fuel and maintenance costs. Today’s models can drive farther on a single charge and have impressive speed and performance. Several options can go from 0 to 60 mph in a few seconds. And best of all, prices have come down, making electric vehicles an affordable option for nearly everyone. Electric vehicles can travel farther than ever on a single charge. But driving one means you’ll have to plug in. While many drivers recognize the benefits of driving an electric vehicle, such as the ease of low-cost home charging, some are concerned with the availability of charging stations during long road trips,” Callahan said.
“Duke Energy has launched ambitious programs to expand electric vehicle charging both internally at Duke Energy locations and externally through several utility pilot programs including here in South Carolina. An internal ‘Electrify By Example’ initiative is starting with an effort to install workplace chargers at all work locations to enable employees to drive electric,” said Callahan.
“The path to cleaner transportation is a robust charging infrastructure along the nation’s major highways, and Duke Energy looks to help lead in this transition as well. Today is an important milestone in that effort,” he said.
Rep. Jackie Hayes said this was a “very special day.” He spoke about the strides in infrastructure and clean energy initiatives in the state and how they are getting things done. He thanked Duke Energy, and Richard Schafer and Ryan Schafer, who he called very forward-thinking, for participating in this effort.
After all remarks, the first vehicle was charged.