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Energy secretary to visit Charlotte Monday to kick off an EV road trip
U.S. Energy Dept.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm will make a tour of southern cities by electric vehicle next week, beginning in Charlotte.

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm will be in Charlotte Monday to kick off a four-state southern tour that she's calling the "People Powered Summer Road Trip."

The former Michigan governor will drive an electric vehicle from North Carolina to South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee to promote the Biden administration's climate and clean energy efforts.

In Charlotte, Granholm will visit a research lab at Electric Power Research Institute, meet with business leaders and Gov. Roy Cooper at Lowe's corporate headquarters, hold a town hall at Johnson C. Smith University and visit Albemarle Corp.'s lithium processing plant in Kings Mountain.

The tour continues all week with stops in Columbia, South Carolina; Athens, Georgia; Atlanta; and Chattanooga, Murfreesboro and Memphis, Tennessee.

Switching from gasoline to battery-powered vehicles is essential both to North Carolina’s and the United States’ long-term goals of lowering the amount of heat-trapping pollution. The Biden administration has a goal for 50% of all new vehicle sales to beelectric by 2030. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's goal is 1.25 million EVs on North Carolina roads by 2030.

But we’re a long way from the switch: Only about 61,000 EVs and plug-in hybrids were registered in North Carolina as of April 1 — fewer than 1% of all cars on the road. Still, more incentives are available and automakers are pouring resources into building more EVs. Advocates hope that as charging infrastructure improves, anxiety about range will no longer hold potential EV purchasers back.

Granholm's EV tour is one of a series of trips around the country by President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to talk about Biden's economic agenda and new government investments.

WFAE climate reporter David Boraks will interview Granholm and Mayor Vi Lyles on stage at the Johnson C. Smith event Monday afternoon, which is open to the public. Registration is required online and can be done here.

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David Boraks is a veteran journalist who covers climate change for WFAE. See more at He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.
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