Electric vehicle sales are rising, and an eclectic mix of companies are getting into the charging game.

With electric vehicle sales climbing, utilities are investing in thousands of new EV charging stations, recognizing that if they don’t move now, they could lose out on a growing and increasingly competitive market.

The latest example is Duke Energy, which this week proposed a $76 million program in North Carolina that it described as the largest investment in electric vehicle infrastructure among utilities in the Southeast.

“This is definitely part of a broader movement in the electricity sector to electric transportation,” said Noah Garcia, a transportation energy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group. “They are seeing the opportunity is ripe now as the technology has matured.”

Utilities also see selling power to motorists “as a way to shield or insulate them from other shifts in power sectors,” Garcia said. It could help them make up for some sales losses as increases in energy efficiency and private rooftop solar, for example, cut into growth in traditional electricity demand.

A lack of charging stations has been an impediment to electric vehicle sales in many parts of the country, but that landscape is starting to change.

Read the full report from Inside Climate News.

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U.S. electric vehicle sales are growing, and so is demand for charging stations. Automakers, cities and businesses have started providing them. Now utilities are asking permission to have their ratepayers fund charging infrastructure the utilities would operate. Credit: Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images