NYPA anticipating surge in electric vehicle usage, local areas to receive fast-charging stations

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — 15 minutes. That’s all it takes to charge an electric vehicle on fast-charging stations that are being deployed throughout the state right now, while other regular stations could take up to 6 hours. All of this is according to Matthew Lichtash, analyst on EvolveNY team for New York Power Authority (NYPA).

“EvolveNY has been working to analyze all of the roadways and cities throughout NYS to understand what is the most optimal place to put these things for the driver, that will enable the greatest degree of electric vehicle adoption…we’ve also been building our first bunch of sites and our first site is live today,” he said.

Lichtash said they’re expecting a wave of electric vehicles in the coming years, as car companies have announced they’ll be hitting the market even more. He said the deployment of these fast-charging stations comes as a result of this foreseeable demand.

“We know electric vehicles are coming,” said Lichtash. “Just like how cell phone companies built out the cell phone infrastructure before the iPhone came out, we are aiming to build this fast-charging infrastructure in advance of these vehicles coming out.”

He said there’s been a lot of work to analyze where the optimal spots for deployment are for the charging stations. One of the spots, is Geneva.

“So the EVolve NY team is aiming to complement all of the existing economic developments initiative from Gov. Cuomo’s downtown revitalization initiative…because EVolve NY is building these fast chargers, we feel like its a win-win situation to allow both residents of that community and visitors to drive electric and clean. It’s a great complement to all the new infrastructure coming in,” said Lichtash.

Rochester will also get these stations, but unlike Geneva, they’re still working on deciding where in the city those sites will be.

“I know that NYPA is working with municipalities across NYS and selected several smaller municipalities to start with. We have spoken with NYPA, they are interested in coming into Rochester to install the fast chargers here,” said Anne Spaulding, Manager of the Division of Environmental Quality, City of Rochester. “Having NYPA install these fast chargers across the state makes it possible for people to take long trips without worrying about finding a place to stop and charge for several hours,” she said.

Spaulding said she has seen an uptick in usage at the stations in Rochester, too. “We can tell the usage of our charging stations, we can see that there are more unique drivers and more vehicles, on a month by month, year by year basis so we do see a steady rise in the usage of our stations,” she said.

Lichtash said that allowing people to easily make the switch to electric vehicles, is also a major step in lowering carbon pollution. “Actually Upstate NY is one of the cleanest, if not cleanest place to drive an electric vehicle due to our abundance of hydroelectricity from places like Niagara Falls. If you look at how to reduce carbon pollution from the transportation sector, which is the leading contributor to climate change in NYS, about 40 percent of the state’s emissions, one of the best ways to do that, is electric vehicles.”

He said allowing people to make the switch will result in 70 percent or 80 percent of carbon savings for each vehicle, relative to if they were driving on gas.

Two charging sites are set to be complete for Geneva next fall, and 50 sites in the state total are set to be complete by the end of next year. EVolve NY is working as a support to the “EV Make it Ready” plan announced by Gov. Cuomo earlier this summer, which aims to accelerate the deployment of more than 50,000 charging stations by 2025, and increase the range of EVs. Gov. Cuomo says the ultimate goal is to reduce statewide carbon emission by 85 percent by 2050.

Lichtash said this plan is not tax-payer funded, NYPA will be using their own budget. He said users are charged a fee to use the system, but he says it’s below what someone would pay for gasoline to travel the same number of miles.

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