|Union County leaders proudly display the new plug in charging station.|
The City of Union recently became one of the first communities in South Carolina and the entire country to become home to something that may become much more common around the state and nation in future years.
During an event held at Union City Hall on December 9th, two electric vehicle charging stations were unveiled as part of a statewide project launched by Plug In Carolina, a not-for profit organization formed to educate the public about the benefits of plug-in vehicles.
After competing for a grant to do so, Union became one of nine cities in the state to deploy electric vehicle charging stations in December. A total of 30 stations were deployed and that total is expected to reach 80 stations by early 2011.
"The City of Union is proud to be among the first locations across the United States in which these charging stations will be deployed," said Mayor Harold Thompson. "We are also excited about the opportunity to participate in the mission to educate the public about the environmental impact of reducing carbon emissions."
Jim Poch, the Executive Director of Plug In Carolina said that there are three reasons to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles: environment, economy and dependency on foreign oil. He also pointed to the addition of Proterra Bus and CT&T to the Upstate, with a projected investment of $80 million and 1,600 jobs, as examples of how this technology can benefit the region economically.
According to Poch, there will be more than a dozen models of electric or partially electric vehicles hitting the streets within the next one to three years.
"We're happy to show that Union - and the state of South Carolina - is deploying an infrastructure to welcome these vehicles and to encourage these vehicles," Poch said. "The state of South Carolina is first as far as getting multi-deployed cities."
Poch also recognized the important role of Lockhart Power in making the charging station in Union possible. "Lockhart Power put in some financial contribution," he said. "They put in a dollar and we were able to get three."
Bryan Stone, who is the Chief Operating Officer of Lockhart Power and the president of the Union County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, said that the fact Lockhart Power generates nearly 100 percent of its power from renewable energy makes the energy coming from this charging station even more environmentally efficient.
"Not only do the cars not produce pollution when they run, but the electricity running through the cars was generated without producing any pollution," Stone said.(Thanks to Derik Vanderford and the Union Daily Times for the information used in this story)