The Energy Office has released an Energy Spotlight (PDF), highlighting the Plug in SC program.
Palmetto Clean Fuels (PCF), an initiative of the Energy Office within the SC Office of Regulatory Staff, completed a South Carolina Electric Vehicle Market Study to assess the current electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure and policy framework in South Carolina, analyze trends and the outlook for the future, and identify actions to prepare South Carolina for future EV development.
Through research and discussions with stakeholders, PCF found that current EV charging stations are often overlooked due to inadequate and inconsistent signage, both at the charging station itself and directional signage leading to the charging station.
Introducing Plug in SC
Plug in SC is the only marketing campaign in South Carolina focused on the advancement of EVs. It is designed to encourage a unified approach to EV signage based on nationally recognized templates. Plug in SC recommends standardized EV charging station signage, pavement markings, and directional signage. In addition, Plug in SC serves as a source for EV information and best practices in implementation.
Plug in SC guidance recommends the following standardized signage:
- The Electric Vehicle Charging Symbol in combination with the “No Parking Except Electric Vehicles” sign placed near the station(s)
- EV charging stalls outlined with green pavement markings of 4” to 6” wide stripes
- The Plug in SC logo is an optional addition to parking pavement markings
PCF has created a turnkey solution for Plug in SC implementation. Signs can be purchased at a low cost from the SC Department of Corrections - Prison Industries, and Pro-Park pavement marking paint can be purchased using the provided Sherwin Williams color matches.
“We are pleased to join forces with Palmetto Clean Fuels to lead the way in standardizing EV infrastructure in South Carolina,” said Jimmy Woods, Product Manager at Shealy Electrical Wholesalers.
PCF continues to facilitate implementation of standardized signage across the state by rebranding existing stations and encouraging station owners to include signage as new stations are installed. Some other organizations and businesses that have implemented the Plug in SC signage include Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island Hotel, and the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina headquarters.
In addition, the Energy Office procured a Chevrolet Bolt EV in 2020 for agency use with plans of wrapping the vehicle in Plug in SC-branded logos to further promote the initiative. This branding will coincide with another Energy Office-funded project that placed EV chargers at three state parks.
The Beginning of Plug in SC
EV Pop-Up Event: PCF held a Plug in SC pop-up event in September 2017 to temporarily show what an EV charging station could look like with recommended signage along Main Street in Columbia, SC. This event was held after the release of the 2017 South Carolina Electric Vehicle Market Study, but before any official implementation of the signage. The event also served as a kick-off to celebrate National Drive Electric Week 2017.
Plug in SC Campaign Launch: PCF officially launched its Plug in SC campaign in West Columbia in April 2018 at Shealy Electrical Wholesalers, a Division of Border State Electric. A ribbon-cutting ceremony unveiled the new standardized signage and pavement markings. Shealy Electrical Wholesalers was the first in the state to implement this complete set of Plug in SC signage.
First Local Government Implementation: The City and County of Union, in partnership with Lockhart Power, were the first local governments to implement Plug in SC signage. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in November 2018 at the Timken Sports Complex where two of the county’s ten EV charging stations are located.
“Since we were the first to implement the Plug in SC branding program in multiple locations (five pairs of charging stations across Union County), we expected to encounter some early adopter hiccups. In fact, the process could not have been smoother. The signage and pavement markings were cheap and easy to install, and they look fantastic! They bring a new level of public awareness to the growing presence of EVs in our communities, helping encourage their adoption with all of the benefits EVs provide,” said Bryan Stone, Chief Operating Officer at Lockhart Power Company.
More information on Plug in SC is available at PalmettoCleanFuels.org/pluginsc.