New York is the latest state to invest in an electric vehicle (EV)-friendly infrastructure. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced that the state will spend $4.4 million on 325 charging stations for battery-powered vehicles.
“With New Yorkers facing higher prices at the pump, the state is stepping up to make owning an electric vehicle an affordable and convenient option,” Cuomo said. “Creating an infrastructure to accommodate electric vehicles will create jobs and new economic development across the state, while reducing our carbon footprint and helping protect the environment.”
The charging stations will be spread throughout New York State, The state and private contractors have plans to install them in New York City, Albany (the state capital), and other cities. Price Chopper and Mariott have signed on for charging stations at some of their supermarkets and hotels, respectively.
The goal of the program is to not only accommodate EVs, but to also raise public awareness of them. The charging stations will be located in public places, and Cuomo hopes they will promote the sale of EVs in New York.
The projects chosen by the New York state government will also test different charging technologies. One site will use a new web-based demand response system, which provides maximum charge during periods off-peak times. Another site will be partly solar-powered.
The project is funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which some help from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).The DOE gave New York a $1 million grant last year as part of the Transportation and Climate Initiative. The initiative involves 11 Northeast states and the District of Columbia; it is meant to help achieve President Barack Obama’s goal of having 1 million EVs on the road by 2015.
If EVs really are the wave of the future, they will need large-scale development projects like this one. Fully-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids may reduce emissions and oil consumption, but their batteries have a limited range and take hours to charge. The Tesla Model S has an impressive 265-mile range, but it costs over $100,000. EVs aimed at the general public, like the Nissan Leaf, usually have under 100 miles of range. Plug-in hybrids have even shorter ranges on electric power.
Since recharging an EV takes hours, replacing gas stations with charging stations will not work. EVs need to be charged while they are parked, hence New York’s plan to install charging stations at supermarkets and hotels.
The current crop of EVs are designed for commuting, not long road trips, but New York’s network of charging station should give their drivers more options and make them a little less anxious about running out of electrons.