North Carolina Department of Transportation Secretary Joey Hopkins addresses the crowd Friday at Raleigh Executive Jetport in Sanford. At center is a BETA ALIA CTOL (conventional takeoff and landing electric) aircraft. Photo by Ben Brown.

North Carolina took a step towards sustainable aviation with Friday’s groundbreaking of the first electric aircraft chargers in North Carolina at Raleigh Exec Jetport in Sanford.

The chargers were designed by BETA to be multimodal, meaning it supports the charge of electric aircraft and electric cars and trucks at the airport. The charging stations will be operational by Q1 2024.

“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 Joey Hopkins, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

BETA Technologies, an electric aerospace company, will install the charging stations, and 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 for crew rest time. 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 apron where the charging stations would be located. The expansion, which NCDOT has funded, was recently completed and is ready for additional construction to follow.

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.

Friday’s groundbreaking event also featured one of these aircraft, BETA’s ALIA CTOL (conventional takeoff and landing electric) aircraft, which stopped in North Carolina during its 1,500-mile flight down the East Coast, which originated at BETA’s headquarters in Burlington, Vermont. 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.”

Also speaking at the event were North Carolina Department of Transportation board member Lisa Mathis of Sanford, Sanford-Lee County Airport Authority Chairman Carter Keller, Mikaël Cardinal, the vice president of E aviation for the United Therapeutics corporation, Darshan “Dash” Divarkaran, head of Aerospace Innovation and Prime Partnerships at AFWERX, and Brian Wynne, CEO for AUVSI.