EV Charging Infrastructure on Fast Track in New York State

October 24, 2018

New York State is undergoing a clean transportation revolution. To encourage the public to make the switch to drive environmentally friendly EVs, the state has implemented several initiatives to expand public access to electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. Communities and consumers across the state are taking advantage of these various funding programs that support EVs and EV charging stations.

One example of how these programs are working comes from Clean Communities of Central New York (CC of CNY), the Syracuse, New York based outreach arm of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Clean Cities program. CC of CNY recently completed the installation of multiple Level 2 EV charging stations as part of an Upstate NY “Cleaner, Greener Communities” grant. This grant, funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), and administered by project partner Energetics, enabled the installation of a total of 26 public access Level 2 EV charging stations across Upstate NY.

New York State has implemented several programs to expand public access to EV charging stations.

EV Charging Stations on NY I-90 Corridor

This project resulted from a study completed in 2016 with the goal of developing an implementation plan for EV charging infrastructure along the Upstate NY I-90 Corridor. This heavily traveled toll road, known as the NYS Thruway, runs from Buffalo to Albany in NYS, then turns into the Massachusetts Turnpike, ending in Boston, MA.  In Upstate NY, there are four DOE recognized Clean Cities Coalitions: CC of CNY, Clean Communities of WNY, Greater Rochester Clean Cities and Capital District Clean Communities Coalition. These coalitions worked with Energetics, under contract to NYSERDA, agreeing to assist in obtaining public sites that would host EV charging infrastructure along the New York segment of the I-90 corridor. Once sites were identified and agreements were signed, each host received approximately 80% of the total cost as a reimbursement grant through NYSERDA.

As the main East-West artery in NYS, a state that has been a long-time supporter of the use of alternative fuels, the NYS Thruway/I-90 corridor now provides this additional public access EV charging to NY residents and visitors passing through who drive a battery EV (BEV) or plug-in hybrid EV (PHEV). While the EV industry in general acknowledges that up to 80% of charging will take place at home, consumers have been reluctant to switch to EVs without seeing a growth in publicly available charging stations.  This new charging infrastructure, supported by community outreach from the four local Clean Cities Coalitions, will help spur the adoption and use of EVs.

A total of 26 Level 2 EV charging stations are now open to the public along the NY I-90 corridor.

Host partners in the CC of CNY program include: City of Auburn, Village of Fayetteville, City of Syracuse, Town of Dewitt, and Town of Clay. Each partner hosted a dual port ChargePoint Level 2 EV charger. The City of Syracuse located their EV charger in a public parking lot that is adjacent to the Syracuse University Center of Excellence, where CC of CNY is located. Additional collaboration in Syracuse and the Town of Clay included the installation and operation of solar panels to support the EV charging infrastructure.

Public Events Encourage EV Adoption

In addition, each of the Clean Cities coalitions worked with their host government entities to produce public events that included EV and PHEV demonstrations and educational outreach on the importance of EV infrastructure. Barry Carr, the volunteer coordinator for CC of CNY, and the local Energetics office collaborated on the events that took place with CC of CNY host partners. Local representatives from auto dealerships provided BEV and PHEV demonstration vehicles for each event.

This “Cleaner, Greener Communities” grant is a great example of collaboration between the four Upstate NY Clean Cities coalitions, who all share the common goals to foster the nation’s economic, environmental, and energy security by working locally to advance affordable, domestic transportation fuels and technologies.

The four Upstate NY Clean Cities coalitions worked together to locate the EV charging stations across their communities.

This program is just one part of larger BEV/PHEV initiatives in NYS that includes direct rebates for vehicles (Charge NY) through local dealerships, and a new workplace charging program (Charge Ready NY), which should continue the current rapid growth of EV usage by consumers, and eventually by commercial vehicle operators. In the future, these NY I-90 Corridor EV charging stations will become part of a larger national network of alternative fuel corridors, which the Clean Cities coalitions are also involved with. National, state, and regional transportation corridors are being developed and promoted to offer public access to EV charging, propane, natural gas, and hydrogen stations.