An electric vehicle (EV) charging station was deployed on Thursday at the Ritz at Washington Heights park, pioneering technology that could provide a solution for people that lack the off-street parking needed for home charging systems.
The new solution, PoleVolt, uses existing streetlight infrastructure to slash the costs associated with installing charging stations by as much as fifty percent. In Charlotte, much of the streetlighting infrastructure uses overhead wiring. By connecting to those circuits, additional wiring is not needed underground.
The project is a partnership between the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) at UNC Charlotte, the City of Charlotte, Centralina Regional Council and Duke Energy.
“As North Carolina's urban research university, UNC Charlotte is uniquely positioned to partner with Duke Energy, the City of Charlotte and the Centralina Regional Council in the development of the PoleVolt™, the first universal electric vehicle charging solution of its kind in the country,” said Rob Keynton, dean of The William States Lee College of Engineering. “The PoleVolt™ is just one of many examples of how UNC Charlotte's research combined with community and business partnerships leads to creative solutions for current and relevant societal needs."
Duke Energy manages the city’s streetlights and was a key partner in the project.
“Duke Energy is working hard to eliminate barriers such as access to charging, so we’re proud to play a role in innovative solutions such as PoleVolt,” said Stephen De May, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president. “We are committed to supporting state and local policy goals that deliver a cleaner energy future for all our customers.”
The unit was installed at the Ritz at Washington Heights, a new park developed in Charlotte’s Historic West End. In 2018, several community leaders formed the Historic West End Green District, an initiative designed to improve air quality, reduce carbon emissions and improve health.
“PoleVolt allows us to look at new innovation through the lens of equity,” said Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles. “This new station is an example of the city’s commitment to both sustainability and to the residents in our vital Corridors of Opportunity, areas of our city that have been under-represented in the past.”
The new station is the first of its kind in North Carolina.
“The transition by vehicle manufacturers to electric vehicles is upon us and this station is just one example of how North Carolina is getting ready," said Governor Roy Cooper. "The quicker we move, the more affordable electric vehicles will become for everyday people. Our state is moving toward an equitable clean energy economy and public-private partnerships like this one will help make that happen."
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