From Mountain Xpress: 2017 Asheville Innovators — Matthew Johnson and Stan Cross '13

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Matthew Johnson and Stan Cross '13

From Mountain Xpress, story by Dan Hesse

Brightfield Transportation Solutions Inc.

Matthew Johnson and Stan Cross [2013 graduate of UNC Asheville's Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences program], co-founders


Describe your organization/project.
Brightfield’s vision is to leapfrog fossil fuel and Drive on Sunshine.

Since 2010, Brightfield Transportation Solutions delivers solar-driven charging solutions for the rapidly expanding electric vehicle marketplace.

As a technology integration company, we design, manufacture and operate our patented Brightfield Charging Stations. On this highly scalable platform, we integrate best-in-class EV chargers, solar production, energy storage and management capabilities.

Brightfield is a team of technology, sustainability and marketing entrepreneurs with a deep understanding and passion for the electrification of transportation and its broad impacts. We provide customized EV infrastructure solutions to our forward-acting clients in the retail, destination, municipality, university, workplace and utility markets.

Brightfield Charging Stations are designed to enhance clients’ brands, increase customer and employee loyalty, manage energy resources and promote future-oriented sustainability solutions — all while keeping our clients’ business goals and realities at the forefront.

Why is this needed in the Asheville area, and how does it make a difference?
In addition to selling charging stations, Brightfield has deployed stations that we own and operate along the Interstate 40 and 85 corridors. These chargers link Knoxville, Asheville, Greensboro, the Triangle area and Charlotte, allowing Asheville EV drivers to connect outward to regional destinations and the region to connect to Asheville.

The Asheville region leads the state in per capita EV sales. Public and workplace charging stations support the growing market and provide reliable mobility for EV owners. Asheville also attracts visitors from the hot Atlanta, Raleigh and Charlotte EV markets who, because of the public chargers deployed in our region, drive their EVs here on vacation.

EV owners save approximately $1,300 annually in gas and maintenance. When you buy gas here in Asheville, approximately 97 cents of every dollar leaves the region to oil company or foreign-nation bank accounts. Looking at gas savings alone, the 1,000 EVs currently on WNC’s roads are saving drivers approximately $750,000 annually, money now retained in our communities to feed our local economy. Think about how impactful this will be to Asheville when there are 10,000 EVs on local roads … or 100,000.

EVs also help keep our mountain air clean, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase our energy security by reducing our dependency on oil. Those same 1,000 EVs are avoiding 22,000 barrels of oil annually and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 4.4 million pounds. If those EVs were solar-driven — meaning enough solar was installed to offset EV electricity demand from coal and natural gas power plants — regional greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced another 48 percent to 8.3 million pounds avoided per year.

To read the full story, visit the Mountain Xpress website

For more information about the MLAS program at UNC Asheville, visit