After our previous post announcing our new facility, we noticed a lot of you asking the same question: “Why North Carolina?”
We know that there are a lot more EV drivers in places like California, Portland, and Seattle (our founders are from Washington, originally), but there are a number of very good reasons we decided to set up shop near Charlotte, NC.
The first thing that led us to North Carolina was how much friendlier it is to manufacturing and actually building things. There was a great pool of investors in that area, but most focused on software and design, but didn’t have a good grasp of the challenges and opportunities available building things instead of software. Investors and our partnering businesses in the area all understand businesses that build real, physical things, and that helps a lot.
There are also much greater challenges in terms of government regulations on the west coast. We intend to run a safe and environmentally friendly operation, but won’t run into as much roadblocks and red tape here.
Positive Things in North Carolina
The advantages to this area aren’t all in the negative. This part of the country also has a lot going for it.
One thing people from other places tend to underestimate is North Carolina’s EV scene. “When I first got to North Carolina, I went to an EV meetup near Asheville,” said our CEO John Bysinger. “More EVs showed up there than to any meetup I had ever attended in Seattle–easily three times as many.”
The truth is, the Piedmont area between Birmingham, Alabama and Raleigh-Durham, NC is going through a lot of rapid change. While not known like Silicon Valley or the major east coast cities for innovation or wealth, that is something that has been changing for decades.
America 2050, a study project identifying regions with great growth happening in the early 20th century, identifies the Charlotte area as part of a greater “megaregion” that includes the Piedmont, Memphis, and Nashville. We have everything from vehicle manufacturing (including the Nissan LEAF) to space industry in our region.
The low cost of living and high quality of life in the Southeast are two reasons for this megaregion’s booming population,” the America 2050 page says. ” The region is facing challenges associated with its growing population, such as increased traffic congestion, runaway land consumption, and inadequate infrastructure, which it hopes to address with sustainable solutions.”
While we already have large cities like Atlanta and Nashville, we are in a unique position throughout the rest of the region to build our growing cities smarter and more robust than other established cities that are dealing with major congestion and pollution issues. Even our large cities still have room for improvement and change that the megacities on the coasts do not enjoy.
Along with this opportunity comes a lot of startups we have the pleasure and opportunity to work with. While we can’t list them right now, we know that our area, and the surrounding region, is a great place to do sustainable business.