Electric vehicle chargers coming to most SC state parks

South Carolina is inviting more people to start driving electric vehicles.
Published: Dec. 13, 2022 at 10:21 PM EST
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PROSPERITY, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina is inviting more people to start driving electric vehicles, especially after companies like BMW have announced they are investing billions of dollars in the EV industry in the state.

Now the state is concentrating its efforts to develop the workforce and infrastructure needed to support it.

At a press conference Tuesday at Dreher Island State Park in Prosperity, state leaders announced the EV manufacturer Rivian is covering all costs for the equipment, installation, and maintenance for 10 years of charging stations in around 30 of South Carolina’s 47 state parks.

Drivers can plug in for free with park admission.

“The data is already showing that EV-accessible routes and amenities are bringing tourism to areas across the US,” Rivian VP of Public Policy James Chen said.

The company said two to four ports per site will be ready to use by the end of next year.

“That helps not only South Carolina advance in terms of EV infrastructure, but it reduces the range anxiety for our citizens and our visitors to our beautiful state parks,” Office of Regulatory Staff Executive Director Nanette Edwards said.

Tuesday’s announcement is part of a much larger spotlight the state is putting on the electric vehicle industry.

In the next five years, South Carolina will receive nearly $70 million from the federal government through the bipartisan infrastructure law as part of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program. The state has said it plans to spend part of that money on installing EV charging stations along interstates and highways, initially concentrating on rural areas where they might not already be nearby.

In October, Gov. Henry McMaster signed an executive order that aims to prioritize efforts to recruit electric vehicle-related businesses.

“EV is something that is just becoming widely popular across the country, so we’re harnessing that here,” Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette said. “I think that is something that if you feel passionate about, then we want to make sure that technology and the growth of that industry happen right here in our state.”

According to Rivian, the Level 2 EV Waypoint plugs installed at state parks provide roughly 15 miles of charge per hour.

Chen said state parks are a great location to install them because drivers can plug in as soon as they arrive and then spend a few hours hiking or adventuring around the park, making the most of their charge time.

The next group of EV chargers are tentatively scheduled to be installed at Devils Fork, Charles Towne Landing, Myrtle Beach, and Huntington Beach.