The electric vehicle revolution is coming; the Triad is ready

The electric vehicle wave is coming. Need proof? Consider Toyota’s new $1.29 billion Toyota battery manufacturing plant in the Triad.

When it comes online in 2025, the facility will have four production lines, each capable of delivering enough lithium-ion batteries for 200,000 electric vehicles (EVs) a year.

There is a growing market for EV batteries. By 2024, auto manufacturers will have more than 100 EV models in the U.S. from which customers can select. Today, there are more than 37,000 plug-in EVs in North Carolina.*

The major benefit of EVs is the improvement of air quality in towns and cities. With no tailpipe, pure electric cars produce no carbon dioxide emissions when driving.

They are cleaner for the environment and help save on fuel and maintenance costs – more than $1,000 in savings per year for a typical car.* New models can drive farther on a single charge – upward of 300 miles – and have impressive speed and performance. The Triad’s Toyota facility will be a major part of the continued improvement of battery technology.

What about charging?

With a growing pool of new EV models and the improving nature of EV batteries, the obvious question remaining is: How accessible will EV charging be?

The good news is that North Carolina has almost 2,500 public charging ports in the state. And more are on the way. Charging stations are cropping up along travel corridors, at public parking garages, municipal facilities, local businesses and many other locations.

With the possibility of having more than 1 million EVs in the state by the end of the decade, more charging infrastructure is needed.

Duke Energy is looking to answer the call. A few years ago, the company helped towns and cities locate around 200 public charging stations in the state. Right now, the company is rolling out an additional 280 public charging ports, including in traditionally underserved communities, to lay the foundation for equitable access as EVs continue to grow in popularity.

However, around 80% of EV charging will be done at home. To help, Duke Energy is offering incentives to customers who wish to make electrical upgrades to have their own charging stations at home.

What does the future hold?

To manage the influx of more EV charging, utilities like Duke Energy are looking to invest more in the energy grid to accommodate this new load. These improvements could be in local neighborhoods or businesses that have a large fleet of EVs. No matter where the charging is, a robust reliable energy grid is needed.

To accommodate that new energy demand, utilities must manage charging to make sure drivers are charging during off-peak times as much as possible. Charging during the middle of the night – when demand is low – is much more advantageous than charging during high-demand periods, like hot summer afternoons.

Research is also going on now to see if vehicle batteries could help the energy grid going forward. Electric school buses that run in the morning and afternoons might be able to feed electricity back to the grid during times when they are not running.

The future of electric vehicles is promising but filled with many open questions regarding vehicle adoption, battery technology and how EV charging will change our daily lives. New technologies are changing our lives every day. The EV revolution will be no different.

We’ll have a front-row seat. From Toyota to Duke Energy and the many businesses in between, the Triad will be a key intersection for where those new technologies meet and progress takes place.

Want to learn more?

To investigate the positive financial impact driving electric would make for you, check out the Duke Energy savings calculator. There you can enter data on your normal driving habits and see how much you will save driving electric versus a gasoline-powered vehicle.

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 8.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in five states.

* According to Duke Energy

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