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Rochester encouraging electric vehicles

It is heartening to see that the City of Rochester and several local employers are committed to removing obstacles to more widespread electric vehicle ownership.

Electric vehicles are becoming an increasingly popular option, as evidenced by the fact that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s goal of having 30,000 to 40,000 electric cars on the road in New York by 2018 has already been met.

But one of the biggest obstacles to electric vehicle ownership is infrastructure; there simply aren’t enough public charging stations for the majority of people to feel comfortable driving one around. Cuomo’s Charge NY 2.0 initiative also set a goal of having 10,000 charging stations statewide by 2021; the state only has about 2,000 right now.

So the pledge from the city and five local employers—Dixon Schwabl, Larsen Engineers, Nazareth College, Rochester Institute of Technology and SunCommon NY Inc.—to increase the number of charging stations in the region is worth celebrating.

“Workplace charging allows employers to increase the convenience and affordability of driving electric for their employees, which plays a role in attracting and retaining top talent,” said Bob Duffy, president and CEO of Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce.

These six employers have a total of 30 charging stations. The city has 12 of those charging stations and its fleet of city-owned vehicles includes 30 electric vehicles.

“Our region’s growing reputation as a community that is committed to environmental stewardship is helping us create more jobs, safer and more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities for our citizens,” said Mayor Lovely Warren.

Currently a niche product, electric vehicles will eventually become ubiquitous. Last year was the best year on record for electric vehicle sales, with nearly 200,000 sold nationally, up more than 25 percent from 2016, which had previously been the best year on record.

The only question is how quickly electric vehicle ownership will spread, and Rochester and New York’s focus on infrastructure will only help to speed that process.

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