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Exploring how the way we live influences climate change and its impact across the Carolinas. You also can read additional national and international climate news.

Electric vehicle registrations grew 54% in NC last year, but still account for tiny share of cars

Gov. Roy Cooper wants to get 1.25 million electric vehicles on North Carolina roads by 2030. At year's end 2022, the number was just over 38,000.
David Boraks
Gov. Roy Cooper wants to get 1.25 million electric vehicles on North Carolina roads by 2030. At year's end 2022, the number was just over 38,000.

The number of electric vehicles on North Carolina roads increased 54% in 2022 — a big jump for a single year — but EVs still make up a tiny fraction of all vehicles.

A total of 38,374 electric vehicles were registered in North Carolina as of Dec. 31, up from 24,997 a year ago, according tothe state Department of Transportation. That's still less than 1% of all cars and trucks on the road and far short of Gov. Roy Cooper's goal of 1.25 million EVs by 2030 — just seven years from now.

Reaching that goal would require sales averaging about 173,000 a year until then. But the governor's climate advisor, Zach Pierce, sees exponential growth ahead.

"At this stage, the challenge is not the demand, it's meeting the demand," Pierce said.

Sales will increase as long as manufacturers develop "a consumer experience that is reliable, (and) is affordable," he said.

And one more thing, Pierce added: "When you look at the waiting lists, the challenge isn't necessarily the demand for the vehicles, it's going to be making sure that we have adequate charging infrastructure in place."

The Cooper administration has announced funding to build out the charging network. And it's working on a North Carolina Clean Transportation Plan due out in the coming months that will include efforts to promote electric vehicles, he said.

Meanwhile, a broader nationwide charging network is also a goal of the Biden administration.

Electric vehicles are now registered in all 100 North Carolina counties, with the highest concentrations in the Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte areas.

Registrations of plug-in hybrids (which include a smaller battery that can power the car for shorter distances) also grew last year, by 30%, to 15,601.


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David Boraks previously covered climate change and the environment for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.