State regulators this morning gave Duke Energy the go-ahead to offer customers free home charging stations for plug-in electric cars.
Charlotte-based Duke plans to distribute about 150 of the pods to customers who buy or the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf and other electric cars soon to be released to the mass market. The charging stations have a retail value of $1,500 to $2,000.
The electric company told the N.C. Utilities Commission it needs to analyze the demands the 240-volt chargers put on the electric grid to determine what upgrades will be required to prevent system overload in Charlotte and other areas where electric car owners tend to concentrate.
Progress Energy plans to offer a similar program but details have not been finalized. Raleigh-based Progress projects that electric car buyers in the company's service territory will be concentrated in Raleigh, Cary and Asheville.
Both utilities will offer the free charging stations through the auto dealers that sell or lease electric cars.
Recharing a plug-in electric car from a wall outlet can drain as much power as a central air conditioning system.
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