PoleVolt The Ritz at WH Side View 17-Feb-2022

First PoleVolt EV Charging Station Now Open!

Governor Cooper and Mayor Lyles visited the unveiling of the new first of its kind in North Carolina PoleVolt charging station outside of the Ritz at Washington Heights Park. The curbside EV charging station uses existing streetlight infastructure to cut down the costs of installing an EV charging station by as much at 50 percent. 

The Ritz at Washington Heights Park is located in the Historic West End. In 2018, several community leaders formed the Historic West End Green District. This initiative was designed to improve air quality, reduce emissions, and improve health. Making this location perfect for the free-to-use charing station. 

The project has been brought to fruition by the partnership of Duke Energy, The City of Charlotte, Centralina Regional Council, and the UNC Charlotte EPIC center. 

It is essential to support EV infrastructure to be ready when electric vehicles will become more affordable and accessible. Installing an EV charging station outside of the Ritz at Washington Heights Park gives locals access to charging that lack off-street parking availability for at home charging. 

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Marshville Electric Vehicle Charger Now Open!

The Town of Marshville, in partnership with the Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition (CCFC), unveiled a new electric vehicle (EV) fast-charging station to the public on Monday, 11/15.

 “This is an exciting time for Marshville, which is on the cusp of growth and development with the recent completion of the Monroe Bypass and increased interest from commercial and residential developers,” said Frank Deese, Town Manager of Marshville. “We greatly appreciate the Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition for assisting us with the grant process and helping make the EV charger a reality. Marshville is truly the diamond of Union County and with the EV charger, we are one step closer to establishing ourselves as a key destination in Union County.”

Made by ChargePoint, the EV charger is located at 119 N. Elm Street in Marshville. The cost to use the charger is $0.14 per KWH with one hour of free parking for the first hour and $1 per hour for parking after the first hour. The charger is free for Town of Marshville employees to use for Town vehicles.

In addition, the Town’s EV police vehicle-a modified Tesla 3, was on hand for folks to see. It was purchased in anticipation of the fast charger being installed.  

“Our mission is to reduce petroleum dependence, improve air quality and expand alternative fuel use and technology, so we were excited for the opportunity to assist the Town of Marshville in applying for and receiving a grant to install a charging station for their downtown area,” said Carina Soriano, MPA, regional planner and co-coordinator with CCFC. “Not only are we helping improve transportation energy efficiency in Marshville, but are playing a role in helping with the Town’s economic development goal.”

The Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition – which is housed at Centralina Regional Council – helped the Town of Marshville with a grant application for NC VW Settlement funds that were received for an EV DC Fast charger. According to the North Carolina Volkswagen Settlement, Governor Roy Cooper has designated the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to manage North Carolina’s share of the VW Settlement, an agreement between the German automaker and the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A Zero Emission Vehicle infrastructure program is one of the five programs that can receive VW Settlement funds.

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Ritz Park Opening

The Ritz at Washington Heights Opening

This past Saturday, November 6th 2021, The Ritz  at Washington Heights held its ribbon-cutting ceremony and officially opened. The Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition, along with representatives from UNC-Charlotte, the City of Charlotte and Duke Energy, proudly attended the ceremony and joined the celebration. The park site was historically occupied by the Ritz Theater, a segregation-era Black theater that the park is named for in an effort to honor the community’s history. The project of opening this park where the former Ritz Theater sat vacant was chosen from more than 2,000 entries to the Lowe’s 100 Hometowns Grant. Lowe’s awarded millions of dollars to 100 unique community projects across the U.S in celebration of the company’s 100th anniversary. The Ritz project received $200,000 from Lowe’s to complete the park, along with a $25,000 contribution from the Washington Heights Neighborhood Association and a $50,000 contribution from the City of Charlotte’s Corridors of Opportunity program.  

The park is located at 1201 Beatties Ford Road, and this also marks the spot where a PoleVolt curbside electric vehicle charging station will be constructed in the coming months. The PoleVolt charger is part of a US Department of Energy (DOE) pilot effort to explore the challenges and opportunities for introducing curbside electric vehicle charging infrastructure into communities nationwide. As electric vehicle ownership becomes more accessible, charging solutions for electric vehicle owners who do not have access to in-home charging infrastructure are becoming increasingly vital. The product of a three-year partnership between the UNC-Charlotte Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC), the City of Charlotte, Duke Energy, and the Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition; PoleVolt represents both technological innovation and the increasing importance of energy equity within the electric vehicle charging market.  

EPIC and Duke Energy began developing the PoleVolt charger prototypes in 2019. The chargers will be powered by existing Duke Energy light poles and include retractable charging cables and dynamic lighting features to indicate charging status. The project team hopes PoleVolt may serve as a scalable solution for curbside charging efforts in Charlotte and beyond. The multi-year effort to execute the pilot program has yielded valuable insights about curbside charging regulations and requirements for communities nationwide. These learnings will be released in the next year in a project report to US DOE by EPIC and the Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition. The project team is also grateful to have partnered with the Ritz project to introduce curbside charging infrastructure to the Beatties Ford Corridor and surrounding community. The area provides not only a creative, culturally significant space for community events but is also a sign of the progression towards broadening alternative fuel access within the City of Charlotte. 

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