Lowes Foods allocated 12 spots for these V4 Supercharger stations. (Photo by Chris Newman/Carolina News and Reporter)

The tide has turned for owners of electric vehicles.

Tesla has partnered with Lowes Foods to construct charging stations at store locations.

And Columbia has been added to the fold.

The Lowes site is the sixth Tesla supercharger station in the Columbia area.

The station has 12 V4 chargers, a new upgraded version for charging electric cars.

Superchargers charge Tesla cars within 30 minutes. Other companies’ stations can take up to an hour to charge an EV.

Lowes Foods is moving toward constructing more stations at their locations, said Kelly Davis, senior director of guest engagement at Lowes.

“Our goal is to promote increased EV usage,” Davis said in an email. “These stations are about making that usage convenient.” 

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, South Carolina’s vehicle registration for EVs has nearly doubled in a year, rising to 13,500 in 2022 from 7,400 in 2021.

It’s been a long time coming after Gov. Henry McMaster in February announced SCpowersEV, a website showcasing incentives and support for EV companies to move to SC. 

McMaster intends to bring more electric cars on the road by promoting Cirba Solutions, a battery management company, that is building a campus near Columbia for recycling and materializing lithium-ion batteries.

Most stations in Columbia are not Tesla stations and are in public parking garages, with one or two spots available.

The convenience of the Lowes site is what settles it for Tesla and other EV drivers.

“There aren’t many stations between here and Newberry,” Columbia resident and Tesla owner Shawn Shealy said. “If I wanted to go up there, I would have to charge in Columbia and wait until I am back to recharge.”

The stations installed by Lowes Foods and its partners are chosen because of their proximity to interstates and the availability of space for charging spots, Davis said.

The city of Columbia has the bulk of the charging station in the Midlands. There are 13 charging stations inside city limits, all of them are in public parking garages.

The city is assessing its options for EV charging stations to be built in the future, said the city’s Sustainability Facilitator Marypat Balduf. 



Shawn Shealy has owned his Tesla Model X for five years. (Photo by Chris Newman/Carolina News and Reporter)

Lowes is installing stations at locations that are close to interstates, Davis said. This location is on Forest Drive near I-77. (Chris Newman/Carolina News and Reporter)