A new Tesla Supercharger station is coming to the Wilmington area, making it the company’s third supercharger station in southeastern North Carolina.
But its location might not be the first Port City neighborhood that comes to mind when people think of electric vehicles (EVs).
For EV advocates, however, the additional charging capacity provided by the station and its prime location is another opportunity to fill the state’s charging “deserts.” Surveys show range concerns, highlighted by concerns about where to charge on long journeys and in rural areas, along with high vehicle prices remain the biggest barriers to more drivers switching to EVs.
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Where are the new Superchargers going?
The new station, which will include 12 chargers, is under construction in the Lowes Foods parking lot at North College and Murrayville roads.
The location is less than half a mile from the end of Interstate 40 at Gordon Road, which is sure to appeal to Tesla drivers heading to or from the New Hanover County beaches. And for Lowes, they might stop by to pick up some groceries while their cars fill up.
“These stations want to make that use convenient, whether a person is on their way to the beach or a typical shopping trip close to home,” Lowes spokeswoman Kelly Davis said via email, adding that it will be the company’s sixth charging station to plans to open seven more in North Carolina in the next year. “The stations allow our guests to charge their EVs in a safe and clean environment while in our store or a nearby grocery store or restaurant.”
Do charging stations drive business?
Wilmington’s first Supercharger station was built at Mayfaire Town Center in 2017 and has proven popular with shoppers and business owners, said Paige Coniglio, marketing manager for the mall on Military Cutoff Road.
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“Electric vehicle charging stations have led to increased foot traffic, longer customer stays and potential sales,” she said, adding that Mayfaire intends to add nine new charging stations that will be open to all electric vehicles behind World Market.
Where are the other Tesla charging stations in the region?
Along with Mayfaire, the second Supercharger station in the Wilmington area is at Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-BQ in Leland, Brunswick County.
Further afield, Tesla also has Superchargers in Wallace and Warsaw in Duplin County and Smithfield’s in Jacksonville.
Fast-charging stations that are open to all electric vehicles, though they generally don’t charge as fast as Teslas, are also starting to pop up around the region, including in city parking decks in downtown Wilmington.
According to the NC Department of Transportation, there were approximately 1,400 electric and plug-in hybrids registered in New Hanover County and nearly 61,000 EVs and plug-in hybrids in North Carolina in March.
Reporter Gareth McGrath can be reached at GMcGrath@Gannett.com or @GarethMcGrathSN on Twitter. This story was created with the financial support of the 1Earth Fund and the Prentice Foundation. The USA TODAY Network maintains full editorial control over the work.