This June we're plugging in with EVs.
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NCSEA Honors Juneteeth

For the first time in NCSEA history, we have officially declared Juneteenth an organization-wide holiday. Since Juneteeth falls on a Saturday this year, the NCSEA office will be closed on Friday, June 18th. We encourage both NCSEA employees and members to celebrate by participating in a local event or giving to a Black-owned organization. 

Juneteenth (June 19) is a national holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. Originating in Galveston, Texas in 1865, Juneteeth today is not only a celebration of freedom but a day to honor the education and achievements of Black Americans. To learn more about this holiday, visit this website.

Local Events:

Ride Along with Chris Maxwell

by Janelle Martin and Chris Maxwell

With last month’s national gas shortage, the conversation regarding the importance of electric vehicles (EVs) is greater than ever before. According to Cox Automotive, the interest for EVs skyrocketed where 50% of consumers indicated they were suddenly more interested in EVs, and 36% were more likely to purchase an EV in the future. Going electric is attractive to shoppers from an environmental standpoint, but it’s evident that rising gas prices may also have something to do with it. Due to several factors like education, minimal charging infrastructures, and financial costs, it’ll still be a while before the majority of the population is driving electric cars. However, we can always count on EV enthusiasts to keep us afloat and encouraged.

North Carolina resident and NCSEA member, Chris Maxwell, is a prime example of how to use every day as a day to celebrate electric vehicles. Maxwell’s dedication to the EV life is evident from his blog EcoDweeb, where he records his travel all over the nation via electric motorcycle and car. In total, Chris has four electric vehicles which include: a 2013 and a 2014 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive Cabriolet, a 2019 Audi e-tron, and a 2021 Energica EsseEsse9+ motorcycle (his preferred mode of transportation). The benefits of his new bike, he says, offer:

“[Being equivalent to] my motorcycle gas Ducati level performance with none of the maintenance costs. The fluids (motor coolant and brake fluid) are not expensive, tires are the single most expensive item, and that's universally true regardless of the powerplant of the bike. [Additionally,] not having a springtime tune-up in excess of $700 pays for itself quickly—it is literally unplug and go.”



Doing 30,000-40,000 miles on the road in a given year, Maxwell appreciates the thousands of dollars he saves in fuel. He celebrates the fact that there are no oil changes, engine air filters, spark plugs, or emission control systems to maintain. And particularly when it comes to charging, at-home charging is free and efficient since his investment in solar five years ago. He says, “Last year I bought $112 in electricity for the entire year for home charging. [When it was] all said and done, we consumed 5.2MWh of energy at home last year, 4.2MWh of which came off my roof. Public charging was 5.1MWh, meaning that in all of 2020, my fleet consumed 10.3MWh of energy—half at home, half on the road.” Chris also believes that the idea that 80% of home charging happens at home does not apply to active households.  In the future, mass adoption will influence more people to charge in public spaces while at work and doing routine errands.

Surely with all the benefits of owning an electric vehicle, it’s easy to assume that very few challenges come with this lifestyle. Unfortunately, that is not the case. A recurring challenge Maxwell faces is public charging stations being blocked or out of service. He reflects, “I was nearly stranded in LaGrange, GA because the Tritium brand charger wouldn't start (the start button was worn out)—why does the charger even need a start button when the cable tells the machine the vehicle is attached properly?” Frustrated with the inconsistency in public charging defects and costs (evidently, some public charging stations charge by time connected while others charge by energy dispensed), Maxwell thinks this is a problem that could be solved at the federal level.

From Chris’ experience alone, it’s clear that the benefits in savings (whether in money, time, or both) across the board far outweigh the nuances that come with being an EV owner. And while now we witness plenty of electric cars on the roads here in North Carolina, we are certain there will be at least 80,000 by 2025, according to Governor Coopers Executive Order 80. As we press forward towards an electric vehicle future, it is very likely that we’ll continue to hear more stories that impact the way we think about transportation and energy. For now, we can depend on Chris who will gladly take us for a spin.  

Equitable Transportation: Why It Matters

by Janelle Martin

Communities of color are generally left out of the conversation when it comes to e-mobility. Most people think of Elon Musk/Tesla or see dollar signs when they hear the term electric vehicle (EV). But how do black, brown, and indigenous populations (BIPOC) factor in? There’s so much to be discussed regarding underserved populations: the lack of education on EVs, charging deserts, and the obvious, affordability. Thankfully, discourse on electrification and e-mobility is swiftly changing, especially in terms of equitable transportation, and EV Hybrid Noire is at the forefront.

EV Hybrid Noire, based out of Atlanta and Los Angeles, is a 501c3 nonprofit organization focused on e-mobility within diverse populations and is the nation’s largest network of diverse EV drivers and enthusiasts. Cofounded by Dr. Shelley Francis and Terry Travis, EV Hybrid Noire’s primary efforts engage African American, Latinx, and BIPOC communities through research analysis, outreach, and education. With several chapters nationwide (including one right here in the Triangle) and even international, EV Hybrid Noire successfully spreads EV knowledge to communities of color through Ride and Drive events, HBCU partnerships, as well as through their Summer Stem Academy, Drive the Future STEM/STEAM, for the younger generation. Their member network is also a safe space to connect with other EV enthusiasts of color. Even if one is not an EV owner, it provides a platform for people of color to hear about electric vehicles from people who look just like them.

Equity Program Associate of EV Hybrid Noire, Corshonda Johnson, facilitates their outreach efforts via interviews, focus groups, surveys, and other channels. A recent survey conducted by EV Hybrid Noire in partnership with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) revealed people’s knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about e-mobility and clean transportation in communities of color here in North Carolina. The key takeaways discovered in this focus group were:

  • Current mobility options need to be more inclusive of residents in RTP;
  • Charging infrastructure needs to be present in low-to-moderate income communities;
  • Knowledge of savings and tax incentives would encourage more EV adoption; and
  • Having more African Americans reflected in advertising would bring more awareness.

The intimate connections fostered from these focus groups are key to understanding what diverse communities need when it comes to EV adoption. “When talking about equitable transportation, it’s important to get in the community and truly understand some of the barriers that they have or are going through,” says Johnson. “People don’t want you to talk at them, they want to be able to talk to you. . .they want a listening ear.”

The tool most impactful within communities of color it seems is having trusted messengers—as in, communities of color are more inclined to listen to trusted community leaders or agents before making any decisions about getting their own electric vehicle. Johnson confirms, “People want to hear personal experiences from people who look like them.” In addition, there is a prevalent lack of trust among government resources (which is both cultural and historical, especially in the United States) in general that skews perspectives on both state and federal vehicle policies. To combat this, EV Hybrid Noire works closely with legislators and policymakers, sharing insights that may help them create more equitable transportation policies for everyone.  

While the affordability element is challenging to get around in general, not just within BIPOC communities, EV Hybrid Noire shares the benefits of EV adoption by educating people on incentives and rebates based on where they are demographically, amplifying the ease of low-to-no vehicle maintenance, bringing awareness to the option of preowned vehicles, and more importantly, exposure to EV variations—for those who desire Teslas and others Nissan Leafs.

As a strong voice in e-mobility and equitable transportation, EV Hybrid Noire brings in those who are frequently left out. Surely there is more work to be done, but the progress made thus far is meritorious.  

Now that Phase 1 of their multiyear project with SACE is complete, the organization is excited to roll out Phase 2. The recruitment stage for North Carolina residents is currently open, and BIPOC EV enthusiasts or any person of color seeking to learn more about electric vehicles are encouraged to sign up and/or join their member network. Information on how to participate and join are below:

For additional information on EV Hybrid Noire's recent study, please contact Corshonda Johnson at

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, July 21 / 2:00pm / FREE

Even though commercial and residential solar has become a strong component of the robust clean energy economy in North Carolina, there are still quite a few challenges that involve HOAs, industry bad actors, and financial compensation structures. Join us for a conversation that will discuss these challenges and how NCSEA and other clean energy advocates are working to address them.

If you missed the last Making Energy Work webinar on EVs and how we're charging North Carolina, see a snippet below. To access the full recording, we encourage you to become an NCSEA member

We are seeking sponsors for this webinar! Interested in sharing your organization with our amazing MEW attendees? Contact Kristi Matthew at

New Business Members

Action Solar & Electric, LLC
Bitting Electric
Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy
Civic Federal Credit Union
International Zinc Association
The Law Offices of F. Bryan Brice, Jr.
Real Estate Experts and Circular Design Construction

Returning Business Members

Appalachian Voices
Blanco Tackabery & Matamoros, P.A.
Cape Fear Solar Systems
Carolina Solar Energy
Community Energy Solar
Cypress Creek Renewables
Duke University
E2 - Environmental Entrepreneurs
Eagle Solar & Light
Emerald Energy LLC
FTCC-NC Military Business Center
Geenex Solar LLC
GreenGo Energy US, Inc.
Model Energy
Moore & Van Allen PLLC
NC Clean Energy Technology Center
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, L.L.P.
North Carolina Business Council
Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP
Renewable Energy Design Group
Renewable Energy Integration Group, LLC
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Southeastern Wind Coalition
Strata Solar
Sustain Charlotte
United Therapeutics
USGBC North Carolina Chapte
UtiliCom Consulting Group LLC

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