Owning an Electric Vehicle in North Carolina: Costs, Incentives and Everything You Need to Know

So you‘re considering an electric vehicle (EV) and wondering whether North Carolina is suited for EV ownership. This comprehensive guide will provide everything you need to know, from charging infrastructure and costs to available incentives. We‘ll help you decide if an EV is right for your driving needs.

Overview of the EV Ownership Landscape in North Carolina

North Carolina offers decent and improving EV charging infrastructure concentrated along major highways and metro areas. Home and public charging costs are on par with national averages. While additional fees apply to EVs, lower "fueling" costs offset these over time. Some rural power companies also incentivize EV purchases.

Charging Infrastructure Across North Carolina

The table below summarizes North Carolina‘s current electric vehicle charging landscape:

Charger TypeNumber StatewideLocationsCharging SpeedAverage Cost
Level 1400+Hotels, shops, public lots3-5 miles of range per hourFree or cheap; best for overnight
Level 22,000+Hotels, shops, workplace lots10-20 miles per hour$0.20-$0.30 per kWh
DC Fast Charging800+Highway routes, gas stations80% in <60 minutes$0.30-$0.40 per minute

North Carolina has been awarded federal funding to add hundreds more DC fast charging plugs along major highways over the next two years. This will greatly improve road trip accessibility through rural areas. Those who drive longer regular commutes or seldom take longer trips may find the current infrastructure fully suits their needs.

Charging station gaps still exist across western counties where implementation is lagging. Statewide adoption goals aim for further expansion to support 80,000 EVs by 2025 as more drivers switch to electric.


  • Plentiful charging for metro drivers and highway travelers
  • Funding in place for 200+ more fast chargers


  • Gaps persist in rural western NC
  • Tourism hotspots may cause crowding

What Does It Cost To Charge an EV in North Carolina?

Charging costs vary by location (home vs. public) and station type. This chart compares typical EV charging costs in North Carolina over one year:

EV Charging Cost Comparison over 1 Year

For the typical NC driver traveling 12,000 miles annually, relying exclusively on public DC Fast charging would cost over $1,300 per year. However, utilizing home charging combined with occasional public Level 2 top-offs can drop total annual costs under $400.

To see the numbers for a popular EV model, let‘s compare charging methods for the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E with an 88 kWh battery pack and 300 mile range:

Charging MethodFull Charge Energy UsedCost Per Full ChargeAnnual Cost
Home (240V)88 kWh$10.56$261
Public (Level 2)88 kWh$26.40$660
Public (DC Fast)70 kWh$28-$35$700-$875

As the tables demonstrate, relying exclusively on public DC fast charging can cost 3-4 times more than home charging. This makes installing Level 2 equipment at your residence well worth the one-time expense if possible.

Federal and State Incentives for North Carolina EV Drivers

The main incentives include:

Federal Electric Vehicle Tax Credit

  • Up to $7,500 back at tax time for new EV purchases
  • Full credit still available for models like Ford F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T
  • Phases out slowly for Tesla and GM vehicles

State and Utility Rebate Programs

  • Randolph EMC: $500 rebate on Level 2 charger purchase and installation
  • Cape Hatteras EC: Reduced EV time-of-use rates

Unfortunately North Carolina does not offer additional state tax rebates or incentives at this time beyond the federal credit. Rural cooperative incentives serve parts of the state with highest infrastructure needs, making them particularly valuable.

Real-World Charging Cost Examples

Here‘s a breakdown of home and public charging costs associated with some of today‘s most popular EVs in North Carolina using 2022 pricing:

EV ModelBattery SizeHome Charge CostPublic L2 Charge CostPublic DC Fast Charge Cost
Nissan Leaf (40 kWh)40 kWh$4.80$12$16-$20
Ford Mustang Mach-E (88 kWh)88 kWh$10.56$26.40$28-$35
Tesla Model 3 RWD (60 kWh)60 kWh$7.20$18$24-$30
Rivian R1T (135 kWh)135 kWh$16.20$40.50$54-$67.50

Where To Buy an EV in North Carolina

All major auto brands offer electric models at dealerships across North Carolina. Tesla sells its lineup through stores in Raleigh and Charlotte. Car shoppers will find the state‘s best EV inventory at dealers in larger metro areas like Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, and Asheville.

North Carolina‘s used EV market is also accelerating, giving buyers more affordable options than ever. Private sellers often list used EVs for sale on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and eBay.

When comparing new models, be sure to check out federal and state purchase incentives you may be eligible for.

The EV Verdict for North Carolina Drivers

For North Carolina residents able to plug in regularly at home and complete most trips of under 200 miles roundtrip on a full charge, EV ownership should pencil out financially compared to gas vehicles. The improving fast charging network also makes occasional long-distance travel increasingly viable.

Rural drivers venturing more often into charging deserts may still experience challenges. But with the state ramping up infrastructure investments combined with more model selection and purchase incentives than ever, tar heels have plenty reason for EV excitement!

[kWh]: Kilowatt-hour
[RWD]: Rear Wheel Drive

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