North Carolina took a step toward sustainable aviation with the groundbreaking of the first electric aircraft chargers in North Carolina on Oct. 20.
The electric chargers were designed by BETA to be multimodal, meaning they support the charge of electric aircraft and electric cars and trucks at the airport. Two electric charging stations will be installed in early 2024 at Raleigh Executive Jetport in Sanford, the site of the groundbreaking ceremony.
“Investing in sustainable aviation is a clear next step for North Carolina, the First in Flight State, as we continue to be a leader in aerospace and multimodal transportation innovation,” said state Transportation Secretary Joey Hopkins.
BETA Technologies, an electric aerospace company, will install the two multimodal charging stations to serve electric aircraft and ground electric vehicles. The site will include a Level-3 fast-charge Charge Cube, which will charge electric aircraft in under an hour, and an accompanying Charge Center where aircraft crew can rest. The site will also include a Level 2 car charger, which will be installed in the airport’s parking lot. The project required a significant expansion of the airport’s apron, where the charging stations will be located. The expansion of the apron, which NCDOT funded, was recently completed and is ready for additional construction.
Electrification will be a key component of the state’s Advance Mobility NC strategic plan. It will leverage the work of NCDOT’s efforts to create a multimodal transportation system that improves the mobility of people and freight.
“We’re thrilled to be part of the project because innovations like this BETA-designed charging station and electrifying transportation are real priorities for us,” said Bob Heuts, director for Raleigh Executive Jetport. “Since this airport was built more than two decades ago, it’s been our history to be on the leading edge of important trends.”
These new chargers in North Carolina will be part of a growing national network of charging stations BETA is building to enable electric flight. The company has also developed electric aircraft capable of moving passengers and cargo more efficiently and with fewer environmental impacts.
The groundbreaking event also featured one of these aircraft, BETA’s ALIA conventional takeoff and landing electric aircraft. The plane originated at BETA’s headquarters in Burlington, Vt., and stopped in North Carolina during its 1,500-mile flight down the East Coast. The tour is being coordinated by the U.S. Air Force program AFWERX.
“The future of transportation is electric, and as we look to make this new technology a widespread reality in aviation, forward-leaning partners and investment in infrastructure will be critical,” said Blain Newton, BETA’s COO. “We have certainly found that in North Carolina. We are excited to have been able to fly our all-electric ALIA aircraft into Raleigh Executive Jetport from Burlington, Vermont, and chargers like the ones we will install together are what will power these types of missions in the future. This state has always been a first mover in aviation, so it’s no surprise that we’ve found support for the next generation of sustainable aviation solutions, too.”