From Walter Mack.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the American Recovery Reinvestment Act at a cost of nearly $85,000, 16 electric car charging stations have been installed in various locations scattered throughout Chapel Hill and Hillsborough.

If you have an electric car, like a Chevy Volt or a Nissan Leaf, you can get a free charge at any of these stations. These electric cars have a limited range of about 40 miles, so you might think twice about taking any long distance trips.

Two of the charging stations are located in the parking lot behind the Seymour Senior Center on Homestead Road in Chapel Hill, and occupy two parking spaces reserved exclusively for charging electric cars. During my frequent visits to the Center, I have yet to see an electric car taking advantage of the free charge, and that’s been more than a year since they were installed. How much use the other stations get, I am not quite sure.

It takes about four hours to fully charge an electric car battery. Waiting that long for my car to be charged would deter me even if it’s free. Orange County picks up the tab for use of the electricity that costs about 50 cents per hour per charge.

Our nation is on the cusp of a major energy transformation that may ultimately wean us from our addiction to gasoline consumption. The competition is fierce with electricity, natural gas, and hydrogen fuel cells all jockeying for position to be at the forefront of the technology. It’s a matter of conjecture which one will prevail over time.

But until then, why not relocate those charging stations where they may be more accessible to electric car owners? And please return those much-needed spaces back to the Seymour Center where the parking lot is often filled to capacity.

Walt Mack
President, Friends of the Robert & Pearl Seymour Center
2551 Homestead Rd. Chapel Hill, NC 27516