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NC Democrats push new home construction building code to accommodate EV vehicles

Democratic Governor Roy Cooper in 2018 signed an executive order to set a goal of at least 80,000 registered zero emission vehicles in North Carolina by 2025, and to develop a Zero Emission Vehicle Plan for the state.

Published: March 13, 2023 3:00pm

Updated: March 13, 2023 11:00pm

(The Center Square) -

North Carolina’s forced transition to electric vehicles helped boost registrations by 54% in 2022, and even still, the transportation mode is still less than 1% of total registrations.

The Old North State has a long road ahead to meet Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s goal of 1.25 million EVs by 2030. House Democrats nonetheless want to require new homes to accommodate the trend.

For context, North Carolina would need to add more than 170,000 electric vehicle registrations per year over the next seven years to meet the 1.25 million registration goal. Last year's jump of 13,377 lifted the total to 38,374 on Dec. 31, according to North Carolina Department of Transportation data.

There are roughly 8 million gasoline and diesel vehicles registered for North Carolina’s roads.

Democrats on Monday introduced House Bill 318 to amend the state residential, energy and electrical codes to require all new one- and two-family dwellings to include at least one electric vehicle-ready parking space.

HB318 states the codes “shall provide that all new one- and two-family dwellings shall include at least one electric vehicle-ready parking space, except where no parking spaces are provided for the dwelling unit.”

“For the purposes of this act, an ‘electric vehicle-ready parking space’ means a designated parking space which is provided with one 40-ampere, 208/240-volt dedicated branch circuit for electric vehicle supply equipment,” the bill reads. “The circuit shall terminate in a suitable termination point such as a receptacle, junction box, or electric vehicle supply equipment and shall be in close proximity to the proposed location of the electric vehicle-ready parking space.”

HB318, which would change the codes effective Jan. 1, is sponsored by Democratic Reps. Deb Butler of New Hanover County, Terry Brown of Mecklenburg County, and Maria Cervania and Julie von Haefen, both of Wake County. The bill also has 11 Democratic co-sponsors.

Cooper in 2018 signed Executive Order No. 80 to set a goal of at least 80,000 registered zero emission vehicles in North Carolina by 2025, and to develop a Zero Emission Vehicle Plan for the state.

Cooper issued Executive Order No. 246 in January 2022 to add two other primary goals: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions no later than 2050; and to increase the total number of registered zero-emission vehicles to at least 1.25 million by 2030, with the goal of zero-emission vehicles comprising half of all in-state vehicle sales.

The latter order further tasked the state Department of Transportation with developing a Clean Transportation Plan within 15 months of the order. The Transportation Department published a draft report of the plan on March 1, and officials are now collecting public feedback on the plan through Wednesday.

The Cooper administration has offered up at least $632.4 million in taxpayer-funded incentives to the electric vehicle industry in North Carolina over the last two years. Those incentives include a $316.1 million subsidy for the Vietnamese electric vehicle manufacturer VinFast; up to $315 million for a Toyota battery plant; and $1.3 million for the electric boat manufacturer Forza X1.

The VinFast deal has run into trouble. The Vietnamese company did a realignment of North American operations in February, resulting in about 80 layoffs, and the exit of the financial leader for VinFast U.S. Then on Friday, VinFast said production for the Chatham County plant is pushed back to 2025.