FILE – EV charging station

A Pacific Northwest DC fast-charging station for electric vehicles.

(The Center Square) — A group of Republican state lawmakers are sponsoring legislation to crack down on "free" electric vehicle charging stations.

House Bill 1049 was introduced by Rep. Keith Kidwell, R-Beaufort, late last month with support from Reps. Ben Moss, R-Richmond, Mark Brody, R-Union, and George Cleveland, R-Onslow.

The bill, titled the "Equitable Free Vehicle Fuel Stations," would require stores that offer free electric vehicle charging stations to disclose what the service is costing customers and would ban free charging on state properties that do not also offer free gasoline and diesel.

HB 1049 states "any person who is engaged in a business where electric vehicle charging stations are provided for use by the public at no charge shall ensure that each customer of the business, without regard to whether the customer uses the charging stations, is informed of, on the receipt for purchases, the percentage of the amount of the customer’s total purchase price that is a result of the business providing electric vehicle charging stations at no cost."

The bill also stipulates that no public funds can be spent on free electric vehicle charging stations on state property, or property leased by the state, unless free gasoline or diesel are also offered, while another provision extends the same to city and county governments.

HB 1049 provides the Department of Transportation with $50,000 "for the purpose of removing any electric vehicle charging stations that do not comply with the provisions of this act."

None of the bill’s sponsors responded to recent requests for comment from WFHP, though State Rep. Jon Hardister, R-Whitsett, the House majority whip, told the television station the legislation isn’t a top priority.

"It doesn’t seem to be something that is moving forward," he said.

Democrat members of the House Energy and Public Utilities Committee highlighted the state’s efforts to encourage more electric vehicle ownership in North Carolina.

"We face a decarbonized future and a transition away from fossil fuels to electric vehicles and will need more EV infrastructure," Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Greensboro, told WFHP.

Gov. Roy Cooper has championed electric vehicle development in North Carolina, including a $2 billion investment from Vietnamese electric vehicle manufacturer VinFast to build an assembly and battery manufacturing plant in Chatham County.

The VinFast deal reimburses the company up to $316.1 million over 32 years in exchange for a total $4 billion investment and the creation of 7,500 jobs.

North Carolina is also set to receive over $16 million from the federal government to build electric vehicle charging stations along interstate highways over the next five years.

Cooper set goals for emissions and electric vehicles through executive action in January that include increasing the total number of registered zero emissions electric vehicles to at least 1.25 million by 2030, and to promote in-state sales of electric vehicles so that 50% of all new vehicles are zero emission by the same deadline.

North Carolina currently has more than 26,000 registered electric vehicles, according to the Department of Transportation.

There are a total of 979 publicly available electric vehicle charging stations throughout North Carolina, with the vast majority clustered around the Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte metropolitan areas, according to an April report from NC State University’s Clean Energy Technology Center.