Grants awarded to help fund electric vehicle infrastructure, research in Horry County

Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 11:10 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 3, 2023 at 11:15 PM EST
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Nearly $100,000 from Santee Cooper was recently awarded to several municipalities and organizations throughout Horry County to help fund electric vehicle projects.

“You never know how busy a particular charging station will be and as electric vehicles become more common we’re going to need more charging stations,” said Paul Ryan.

Ryan made the trip to the Grand Strand from Ontario, Canada, and it didn’t take long for him to notice the lack of electric vehicle chargers.

That could all change in a matter of months.

The grant funding will go towards electric vehicles, charging infrastructure and electric vehicle research.

“The driving range is getting better and the prices are coming down so we are going to see a lot more people with EV,” said Santee Cooper spokesperson Tracy Vreeland.

Recipients of the EVolve grants included the City of Conway, Coastal Carolina University, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, McLeod Health Seacoast and Elite Home Care.

Conway City Administrator Adam Emrick said the city was awarded nearly $10,000 to invest in charging infrastructure and knows the investment is needed.

Emrick said if placed in the right spots throughout Conway it could help local businesses bring in new customers looking for something to do while their vehicle is charging.

“When you go to a gas station now you fill up your car it takes about a minute and then you’re gone but this is going to allow us to create a new market for our businesses that aren’t there now,” said Emrick.

The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce received $25,000 and will be adding an EV charger to their parking lot along with conducting a study to help figure out how many charging stations are currently within the Grand Strand area.

“We believe the Grand Strand area should be the EV charging capital of South Carolina,” said MBACC President and CEO Karen Riordan.

While there is still a lot to determine about the EV market currently none of the charging stations cost you any money to charge up your vehicle.

“A lot of the time the city is taking over the cost for now until we have a lot more people driving EVs and that might change,” said Vreeland.

Coastal Carolina University received $25,000 in grant funding, with plans to install 14 electric vehicle chargers throughout their campus.

As a requirement for the grant, recipients must also complete their projects within the year.

A new 2023 grant cycle is expected to launch this month with $50,000 in funding available and another $50,000 earmarked for later in the year.