A new bill has been introduced in North Carolina to try to eliminate free charging for electric cars at businesses, and their logic to justify it is unsurprisingly poor.
For the most part, electric vehicle charging happens at home or at fast-charging stations on long-distance travel. But there are plenty of other charging solutions too, including some businesses, like hotels and restaurants, offering free charging to encourage patronage from EV owners.
In North Carolina last week, Rep. Keith Kidwell, R-Beaufort, felt the need to discourage this practice with House Bill 1049. If it passes the legislature, the bill would both discourage free electric vehicle charging at businesses and ban free charging altogether at government properties unless it also offers free gasoline or diesel fuel at no charge.
Kidwell’s bill reads (via The Carolina Journal):
Any person who is engaged in a business where electric vehicle charging stations are provided for use by the public at no charge shall ensure that each customer of the business, without regard to whether the customer uses the charging stations, is informed of, on the receipt for purchases, the percentage of the amount of the customer’s total purchase price that is a result of the business providing electric vehicle charging stations at no charge.
If the bill goes through and some charging stations are found to be noncompliant, the bill includes a clause to offer up to $50,000 in incentives to remove the charging stations.
Kidwell’s logic for the initiative, which no one has asked for, is that it’s not fair to people who don’t drive electric vehicles since there’s no free gasoline anywhere.
This is the dumbest thing I’ve heard this month. Who exactly is asking for this? Does Kidwell feels compelled by his constituents to stop free charging?
I’ve spent a month driving electric in North Carolina this year, and I would worry a lot more about expanding charging options rather than discouraging free charging. Also, I never charged for free in the state.
It would actually be funny if it passes because, if the businesses start doing the math and see how much it costs to offer the charging and have to include it on the bill, it would probably show that it is 0.1% of the bill for most businesses.
That said, I hope it doesn’t pass or it will be an example of politicians wasting their time with nonissues when there are way more pressing matters.