EV charging stations: Perks or necessities for commercial real estate owners?

Quicklees’ Avon location now features EV charging stations. Quicklee’s has installed level 3 electric vehicle charging stations at three locations and is considering further expansion. (Photo provided)

With 30 convenience stores across the Greater Rochester area and stretching into the Southern Tier, Quicklee’s sells a lot of gasoline.

But while fueling services bring a significant percentage of customers to the stores, the Avon-based company has begun catering to another sector of the transportation industry.

Quicklee’s has installed level 3 electric vehicle charging stations at three locations and is considering further expansion as EVs become more popular. As the quickest way to recharge, the chargers are putting the quick in Quicklee’s.


“We have to be aware of what the trends are, what the future looks like,” said Ken Perelli, vice president and chief operations officer at Quicklee’s. “As much as I don’t believe fossil fuel will disappear in the next 10 or 20 years, I am aware of changing perceptions.”

That’s why Quicklee’s partnered with Power Management Co., LLC of Victor, a third-party energy broker, on an installation and purchase strategy, selecting locations in high-traffic areas that are convenient to major roadways.

They chose the new Batavia location just off the New York State Thruway at exit 48 and their travel centers in Avon along Interstate 390 and in Belmont along Interstate 86.

Level 3 chargers also may be added to the store on Lehigh Station Road in Henrietta near Interstate 390 and on the new Porter Road location in Niagara Falls just off Interstate 190.

“Generally speaking, there’s not enough infrastructure in the ground today to support EVs specific to long-range travel,” Michael Hedges, vice president of sales for Power Management, said. “The market is underserved and there’s huge opportunity.

“If there’s as charging station available in Batavia along the Thruway, and there are other amenities like fast food and prepared foods, then it’s going to drive more traffic to the chargers.”

And for Quicklee’s, that’s the whole point of providing whatever fuels a vehicle, whether it’s a petroleum product or electricity.

“Petroleum is a traffic-driver,” Perelli said. “How do we get customers on site, to continue to use the amenities? People are still going to need their Monster energy drinks, they’re still going to play the lottery.”

Rather than wait for the time when EVs make up a most considerable percentage of vehicle traffic, the company is being proactive.

Michael Hedges headshot

Owners of commercial real estate should be thinking the same way, Hedges said. Charging stations can bring people into shopping areas or restaurants, and they also are reasons why drivers select a particular hotel.

“People may say, ‘We need to charge, let’s go have lunch,’ ” said David Keefe of Greater Rochester Clean Cities. “It does have an appeal from a business development standpoint.”

For Indus Hospitality Group of Penfield, charging stations are now part of the planning process for new hotels.

“In many ways it’s hard not to believe it’s part of the future of hotel travel,” Indus CEO Jett Mehta said. “It’s certainly becoming a hotel standard with the big brands and we’re totally embracing it.”

Because hotel guests are staying overnight, level 3 chargers aren’t a necessity. There is no urgency to charge to full. But level 1 or level 2 chargers aren’t much different than a free breakfast and pool when it comes to the list of hotel amenities.

“Not every hotel has them so when you do have them, you hope you have exceeded your guest expectations,” Mehta said. “And if we make life easier for our guests, we’re all about it.”

Current incentives through federal and state tax credits, as well as utility rebates, could make installation an attractive option, Hedges said.

At first glance, the strategy seems a little counterintuitive for Quicklee’s. Petroleum sales comprise approximately 75 percent of the company’s gross revenue. “But it’s a small percentage of net revenue,” Perelli said. “Prices fluctuate but the margin doesn’t.

Level 3 charging station at the Avon Quicklees. (Photo provided)

The typical Quicklee’s customer is on the premises for five to 10 minutes, Perelli said. It’s even less for someone just buying gas. So even with a Level 3 charger, the customer is spending 20 to 40 minutes at the store, plenty of time to grab a bite to eat or get a little work done on the laptop or tablet.

Owners of multifamily properties and employers also may want to consider the installation of EV chargers.

“You come into work, charge for eight hours or top off your car, that’s an important benefit,” Keefe said.

It’s also perhaps an added perk that may help attract young talent, Hedges said. For multifamily property managers, it could become a requisite as potential EV-owning tenants look for a place to live.

“You’re future-proofing your business,” Hedges said.

Indus Hospitality is taking that a step further when building new properties. They’re running conduit into other areas of the parking lot just in case the need for chargers grows in the future. The company also is running conduit to the roof, should a decision be made to add solar panels in the future, Mehta said.

That idea of future-proofing is precisely why Quicklee’s made the move to add charging stations. Customers pay to plug in, but not that much. For most, the cost to charge back up to 60 or 70 percent capacity is less than the cost for a tank of gasoline.

Thus, level 3 charging stations are essentially loss leaders for the Quicklee’s. Not only must the company pay for the usual electric usage, but the charging stations trigger the electric company’s high-demand surcharge on the monthly billing cycle. That’s because most charging takes place when all other operations of the store are at their highest level.

“It’s not a revenue-generating amenity, it’s more of a convenience amenity,” Perelli said. “But we want to be a company that acknowledges changes are happening and that our customer base is going to be changing.

“We’re a family operated business, we care about the environment and green-based initiatives. As a petroleum-based business, yeah, we can adapt. We’re all going to have kids and grandkids and great grandkids.

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Electric vehicles in the spotlight at upcoming event 

Over 50 plug-in electric vehicles will be on display locally this weekend as part of a National Drive Electric public event.  

Greater Rochester Clean Cities, in partnership with the New York State Electric Auto Association, Rochester Institute of Technology and the local Color Your Community Green chapters will co-host the event that will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday in Lot T at RIT. Greater Rochester Clean Cities, in partnership with the New York State Electric Auto Association, Rochester Institute of Technology and the local Color Your Community Green chapters will co-host the event that will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday in Lot T at RIT.  

It is free and open to the public. 

This year’s event will not only feature cars, but there will also be an electric school bus and a hybrid electric bucket truck. 

David Keefe, coordinator of Greater Rochester Clean Cities, said there is growing interest in electric vehicles, adding all car manufacturers have been adding EV’s to their offerings.  

“It’s a movement that’s evolving,” he said. 

More people are buying electric vehicles, Keefe added, noting that Monroe County is among the highest in the state when it comes to EV purchases.  

As a result, more charging stations are being installed throughout the region, as well, he said. 

In addition to the vehicles onsite, the event will feature:  

  • Information about the purchase of electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging equipment; 
  • Demonstrations on the use of public charging stations, and 
  • Networking opportunities with electric vehicle owners and charging equipment experts. 

Additionally, there will be food for sale and children’s activities.  

The event is held in conjunction with National Drive Electric Week, which takes place from Sept. 25 to Oct. 3. It is intended to heighten awareness of today’s widespread availability of plug-in vehicles and highlight the benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric cars, trucks and motorcycles.  

Proponents of electric vehicles note they are less expensive and more convenient to fuel than gasoline vehicles, are better for the environment, promote local jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. 

The Federal Government has set a goal to make half of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2030 zero-emissions vehicles and to build a network of 500,000 chargers to help make EVs accessible to all Americans for both local and long-distance trips.   

Go to https://driveelectricweek.org/ for more information and to register.  

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Four EV charging stations added at Batavia businesses

The city of Batavia last week marked the installation of four new electric vehicle charging stations. City officials were joined by community leaders and representatives of National Grid to commemorate the installation that was made possible by National Grid’s Make-Ready Electric Vehicle program, which funds electricity infrastructure costs associated with new EV charging stations for its upstate electric business customers.

“The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce is proud to promote, support and connect our local business and tourism communities. We believe passionately in collaborations that enhance our abilities to live, work and play in Genesee County,” said Chamber President Erik Fix. “We are grateful for our partnership with National Grid and the BID (Business Improvement District) and appreciate them working together to bring EV car charging stations to downtown Batavia.”

National Grid’s program covered more than 90 percent of the infrastructure costs to install the charging stations, which includes two at Mancuso Bowling Center and two at the City Church.

“The Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District board of directors was excited to pursue this project and are thrilled to see four EV charging locations within our downtown,” said BID Executive Director Beth Kemp in a statement. “We would not have been able to move forward with these progressive additions to our downtown without the assistance of National Grid, NYSERDA, Rick Mancuso and Marty Macdonald. Thank you to all partners involved.”

National Grid’s EV charging program is available for businesses, multi-unit residential buildings and retail stores, as well as parks and vacation destinations. The company also offers a program for companies looking to electrify their fleets, which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and meet the decarbonization goals of the states where the utility operates, officials said.

“Electric vehicle adoption is on the rise in New York state, and EV charging stations are a great way to attract employees and also a great way to attract and retain new customers,” said Paul Gister, customer and community engagement manager for National Grid.

Gister also said that EV charging stations have become more popular among landlords seeking to attract and retain tenants, as well as help the state achieve its energy targets.

“These programs include incentives for customers who have an eye on the future, who support clean energy initiatives and are providing a necessity for the vehicles that will take us there,” Gister added. “Initiatives like these are at the heart of how we collaborate with customers and significantly impact our communities and community partners. These kinds of collaborations are central to our Project C Initiative, which was created to inspire change and create a more equitable future for our customers and communities.”

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Drive Clean Rebate program offers additional $30 million to buy electric

An additional $30 million has been made available through New York state’s Drive Clean Rebate program to encourage drivers to lease or purchase all-electric vehicles or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office said.

The funding and program changes will enhance vehicle affordability and help more New Yorkers take action to lower their carbon footprint while driving, the governor’s office said.

More than 37,000 rebates have been issued to date, totaling more than $54 million, through the Drive Clean Rebate program, which is administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

“New York is putting more electric vehicles on the road as part of our comprehensive strategy to electrify the transportation sector and build a more sustainable future,” Cuomo said in a statement this month. “Reducing emissions from vehicles will continue to enhance the quality of life in communities across New York by improving air quality, especially in disadvantaged communities that have been disproportionately impacted by pollution and climate change.”

Program changes are being made so that more rebates can be distributed throughout the market, with some rebate ranges being lowered to allow more New Yorkers to take advantage of the incentives, officials explained. The changes for consumers will take place June 30, 2021, and include updated rebate levels to incentivize EVs with longer all-electric ranges and EVs with a base MSRP of less than $42,000.

More than 50 EV models are available in New York, and of those models, 15 have a range of more than 200 miles and are eligible for the rebate. Rebates begin at $500 for vehicles with an MSRP of more than $42,000 and top out at $2,000 for vehicles with a range of 200 miles or more.

“The successful Drive Clean Rebate program has made driving an EV even more affordable and supports the market’s growing demand for clean transportation options,” said NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen Harris. “Expanding this program will ensure more New Yorkers have the ability to choose to drive clean while helping to lower their carbon footprint in support of Gov. Cuomo’s climate and clean energy goals.”

In the Finger Lakes Region, nearly 3,300 rebate applications have been filed, representing 8.7 percent of all applications statewide. Rebate applications in the Long Island region make up the vast majority of all applications at more than 32 percent.

“In efforts to reach our clean energy goals we need to create policies and initiatives that will allow consumers to do their part and lower their carbon footprint,” said Sen. Kevin Parker, D-Brooklyn, chairman of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee. “The Drive Clean Rebate Program incentive is a great program. I applaud NYSERDA and Gov. Cuomo for working to ensure drivers are able to do their part and protect the environment.”

The additional Drive Clean Rebate funding comes from revenue generated through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The state also is aggressively investing in the rapid build-out of its charging infrastructure with more than 7,000 charging stations installed statewide. The Charge Ready NY program provides $4,000 per charging port with an additional $500 per port for stations installed in disadvantaged communities and can be combined with the state’s 50 percent tax credit for charging station installation to boost savings.

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AAA to provide roadside EV charging

AAA Western and Central New York has committed to providing future mobile electric vehicle charging solutions as part of its Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance efforts.

“AAA Western and Central New York is thrilled to partner with SparkCharge Inc. to integrate its Roadie solution into our automotive services in coming months,” said AAA President and CEO Anthony Spada in a statement. “We recognize that the future of automotive service is rapidly changing to include alternative fuel vehicles. We aim to close a critical gap in our mobile service offerings in the electric vehicle segment to provide relevant services to our members and the motoring public.”

Roadie is the world’s only ultrafast, portable electric vehicle charging system, according to SparkCharge. Upon acquiring the units, AAA fleet technicians will be trained on how they operate before mobile charging will be made available to members in need.

Running out of a charge on the road is a top concern among drivers when considering an EV, AAA officials noted. A 2020 AAA survey found that prior to owning an electric vehicle, 91 percent of respondents said that they had at least one concern, which included insufficient range, implications for long-distance travel and finding a place to charge.

Post-purchase, many of those worries disappeared, according to the survey. Nearly all owners surveyed reported never having run out of a charge while driving and on average, they do three-quarters of their charging at home. Some 96 percent said they would buy or lease another EV the next time they were in the market for a new car.

SparkCharge is a Buffalo-based business with ties across the region. The company is a 43North award recipient and recently was featured on Shark Tank, where it secured $1 million in startup funding.

There are more than 67,000 electric vehicles on the road in New York, according to a recent report from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

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Monroe County gets its first EV fast charger hub

Monroe County has its first fast-charging station for electric vehicles.

New York state late last month unveiled the new station in the village of Fairport. The Direct Current Fast Charger hub is the sixth station completed as part of a statewide Evolve NY charging network being installed along key travel corridors and in urban areas to encourage travelers to drive electric vehicles. The New York Power Authority initiative makes charging quick and convenient and helps the state meet its ambitious clean energy goals.

“The Power Authority is building a robust network of fast, affordable and reliable public charging stations across the state while simultaneously working to raise awareness of the benefits of electric vehicles,” said NYPA President and CEO Gil Quiniones. “Fairport continues to step up as a leader in the Finger Lakes region and show a firm commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and integrating EVs into its community.”

The new 175 kW two-charger hub is located in the parking lot for Fairport Village Landing and is the first fast charger over 50 kW that provides non-proprietary charging in Monroe County. The hub features a dedicated Tesla adapter cable and can power any compatible electric vehicle.

In addition to the new DCFC units, which will support rapid charging of person and rideshare vehicles, the village is collaborating with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and Electric Power Research Institute to install 50 home charging stations and 28 Level 2 public chargers elsewhere in the community.

“The Village of Fairport is so proud to have a long and advantageous partnership with the New York Power Authority. This latest endeavor continues to promote our mutual interest by providing green infrastructure for use by all consumers as we progress electric vehicle usage into our daily lives,” said Fairport Mayor Julie Domaratz.

Access to fast chargers, which can charge compatible EVs in as little as 20 minutes, fills key gaps to wider adoption of EVs, making them an easier and more realistic choice for drivers. Charging times vary based on the vehicles’ on-board charging equipment and the vehicle’s battery capacity. Level 2 chargers can take up to six hours for a full charge and are intended for use while drivers are working or shopping.

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Geneva one of eight communities statewide to get EV fast chargers

The New York Power Authority and the state Department of State are collaborating on an effort to significantly expand deployment of electric vehicle fast-charging stations.

The city of Geneva will serve as one of seven communities statewide that will participate in the initial launch of downtown chargers. The fast-charging stations are capable of recharging electric vehicles in 20 to 30 minutes. The statewide initiative will make EV driving more accessible and will help advance the state’s nation-leading climate and clean energy agenda, which mandates economy-wide carbon neutrality by 2040.

The DOS is engaging Downtown Revitalization Initiative communities and securing interest in NYPA’s EVolve NY program, an infrastructure and awareness effort aimed at making electric vehicles a more accessible option for all New Yorkers. NYPA will fund, install, own and operate two EV fast chargers per selected location in DRI communities in the state’s Regional Economic Development Council regions.

“The city is excited about working with the New York Power Authority to provide this innovative technology to our residents and visitors,” said Geneva Mayor Steve Valentino in a statement last week.

The state’s commitment to the expansion of clean transportation is positioning New York as a leader in EV deployment, officials said. In conjunction with EVolve NY and EV Make Ready, other EV charging and deployment initiatives and programs designed to achieve a Charge NY goal of 10,000 EV charging stations by the end of 2021 and 850,000 zero-emission vehicles by 2025 already are underway.

Under the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s Drive Clean Rebate program, more than $35 million in rebates have resulted in more than 25,000 electric vehicle purchases as of June of this year.

The “Make Ready” order, which was approved by the state Public Service Commission in July, will stimulate $1.5 billion in new public and private investments and provide more than $2.6 billion in consumer benefits and economic opportunities by using funding from investor-owned utilities to add more charging stations that will be built in key locations to support expanded EV use, with a goal of deploying more than 50,000 chargers by 2025.

Through EVolve NY, NYPA will allocate up to $250 million for public EV fast charging through 2025 to accelerate the market for electric vehicles.

“The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is energizing communities across the state and NYPA is committed to capitalizing on the program’s success by adding electric vehicle fast-charging stations to our downtowns,” said Gil Quiniones, NYPA president. “NYPA’s EVolve NY EV charger infrastructure program is identifying key areas, implementing easy-to-use fast chargers and raising awareness about the benefits and ease of driving electric.

“Together, DOS and NYPA will make our downtowns more attractive, futuristic and functional while helping us make progress in lowering greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector and advance the governor’s aggressive climate protection goals,” Quiniones added.

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New program to address EV charging station costs

The New York State Department of Public Service is putting its support behind electric vehicles.

A new report from the department recommends the establishment of a statewide utility-support “Make-Ready” program that would provide incentives to light-duty electric vehicle supply equipment and infrastructure for both Level 2 and Direct Current Fast Charger (DCFC) stations statewide.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is on board.

“Accelerating electric vehicle ownership is a key component of New York’s nation-leading plan to fight climate change and grow our clean energy economy,” Cuomo said in a statement. “The Make-Ready initiative will direct the state’s utilities to build the grid infrastructure needed to enable the installation of publicly accessible chargers, encouraging more New Yorkers to choose electric vehicles while creating jobs and ensuring our energy dollars stay in-state.”

The Make-Ready program would improve electric vehicle charging station economics by covering up to 90 percent of the costs to “make ready” a site for EV charging. The costs associated with building EV charging stations present barriers for developers.

Cuomo noted that more than 20,000 rebates have been approved for New Yorkers to buy electric cars under the Drive Clean Rebate initiative, which provides residents with a rebate of up to $2,000 to purchase an EV from participating dealers. In the Finger Lakes Region, nearly 2,100 applications have been received since the rebate initiative began. One-third of all applications statewide were in Long Island.

But while scores of New York drivers embrace the EV driving experience, nationwide last year some 325,000 plug-in passenger vehicles were sold, down nearly 7 percent from 2018, Edmunds reports. That represents just 2 percent of the total number of new vehicles sold nationwide last year.

Experts say the biggest reasons for the lack of enthusiasm toward EVs are cost and range anxiety. Some of that anxiety could be relieved with the state’s new Make-Ready program.

The Department of Public Service report suggests a number of actions to leverage the utilities’ expertise and unique position to promote zero-emission vehicle adoption. The Public Service Commission already has approved initiatives including residential time-of-use rates for charging and annual per-plug incentives to buy down the cost of installing publicly accessible direct current fast charger stations.

The Make-Ready program would run through 2025 to coincide with New York’s goal of deploying 850,000 zero-emission vehicles by the end of that year. The report proposes that utilities be required to incorporate EV charging scenarios into their annual capital planning processes to encourage “thoughtful siting” of charging infrastructure.

The charging infrastructure is estimated to provide New Yorkers with more than $2.6 billion in net benefits, according to the report. Fast-charger stations developed in the first year of the program are expected to have positive financial returns for all regions and site configurations, except for the larger 150 kW stations in Upstate New York. The report recommends that each region in upstate be eligible for additional incentives to make four or more fast-charging locations available in every region.

“The energy system of the future and the transportation system of the future need electric vehicles,” said Department of Public Service CEO John Rhodes. “This report proposes smart, forward-looking utility investments that are good for both electric customers and for car owners, and that accelerate Gov. Cuomo’s clean energy and clean transportation strategy.”

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City combating climate change through electric vehicle usage

The City of Rochester will purchase seven new electric vehicles for its fleet and install six new charging stations. (Photo provided)
The City of Rochester will purchase seven new electric vehicles for its fleet and install six new charging stations. (Photo provided)

The City of Rochester will take extra steps to combat climate change by expanding its electric vehicle fleet and installing more public charging stations.

The city received nearly $100,000 in state funding through the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Municipal Zero-Emission Vehicle & ZEV Infrastructure Rebate Program to install six dual-port charging stations in area parking garages and lots, officials said last week. The New York Power Authority contracted the installation work as part of its EV charging station program.

It was previously announced that Mayor Lovely Warren had joined a purchasing collaborative with mayors across the country to help add more electric vehicles to the city’s fleet. The Mayors National Climate Action Agenda will enable the city to purchase additional EVs. Warren is one of  several hundred coalition members who have pledged to work together to reduce greenhouse gases.

The new electric vehicles will triple the city’s fleet of EVs, officials said. They were funded with assistance from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s Cleaner Greener Communities program.

“When President Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord last year I made a promise alongside other mayors across the country: If the federal government wouldn’t do something about climate change, we would,” Warren said in a statement. “I would like to thank Gov. Andrew Cuomo, NYSERDA and our other partners in state government for helping our city invest in new electric vehicles and infrastructure.”

The new EVs include two 2018 Chevrolet Bolts, four 2018 Chevrolet Volts and one Moto Electric tram shuttle. The vehicles will be used by the Water Bureau, the Municipal Parking Bureau, Mt. Hope Cemetery and the city shared vehicle pool. The EVs join the city’s four 2014 Volts used by the Rochester Police Department and the Water and Parking bureaus.

“By working together—across all levels of government—we can fight climate change and preserve our planet for generations to come,” Warren said.

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First electric vehicle charger rebate available

Blink DC fast charger (photo by ECOtality)
Blink DC fast charger
(photo by ECOtality)

The State of New York has made $5 million available as part of the first rebate designed for the installation of electric vehicle charging stations.

Administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the new Charge Ready NY initiative provides a $4,000 rebate per charging port for public or private employers, building owners, municipalities and nonprofit organizations to install Level 2 charging stations.

Level 2 charging stations provide up to 25 miles of electric range per hour of charging.

“New York continues to lead the nation in reducing our carbon footprint by aggressively investing in clean transportation methods,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “By expanding public access to electric vehicle charging stations, this program will make it more affordable for New Yorkers to make the switch to an environmentally friendly electric vehicle, resulting in a cleaner, greener New York for all.”

The rebate is designed for public parking lots that have at least 10 parking spaces and are open to the public at least 12 hours per day, five days per week. Workplaces that have at least 10 parking spaces that serve a minimum of 15 employees who work at or near the lot, such as office buildings and schools, also are eligible to apply for the rebate. Multi-unit housing facilities qualify for the rebate if they have at least eight parking spaces that primarily serve a building with five or more housing units.

“Through initiatives like Charge Ready NY, Gov. Cuomo is helping New Yorkers join the clean transportation revolution that is taking place in our state,” NYSERDA CEO Alicia Barton said. “Combined with the Drive Clean Rebate, which provides rebates for the purchase of electric vehicles, this initiative is helping reduce emissions by making cleaner modes of transportation a possibility for more and more drivers.”

The installation of charging stations for public use supports the governor’s ambitious clean energy goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030. The Charge Ready NY rebate can save up to 80 percent of a typical charging station’s installation cost.

“The buildout of an extensive electric car charging network is key to getting more New Yorkers to drive low-emission vehicles and bringing New York State that much closer to its clean energy goals,” New York Power Authority President and CEO Gil Quiniones said. “Our new EVolve NY electric vehicle initiative focuses on addressing infrastructure barriers and our ongoing joint efforts with NYSERDA will help bring more fast chargers to qualifying businesses and nonprofits through our workplace charging programs across the state.

Announced in May, EVolve NY is a $250 million investment by the NYPA to expand an electric vehicle initiative. The initial phase of funding directs $40 million to be allocated to three primary new programs through the end of 2019, including interstate fast chargers, airport fast chargers near John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports and EV model communities.

In March 2017, the state launched its Drive Clean Rebate program, which provides residents with a rebate of up to $2,000 for the purchase or lease of a new plug-in hybrid or battery electric care. More than 6,600 New Yorkers have received rebates in the last year for 35 different types of cars; since its launch, more than 9,000 New York residents have received rebates totaling more than $12 million.

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Rochester joins new electric vehicle purchasing collaborative

car-electric-vehicle-chargerRochester is one of 19 founding cities and two counties nationwide to form an electric vehicle purchasing collective.

The Climate Mayors Electric Vehicle Purchasing Collaborative has committed to the purchase of 376 electric vehicles (EVs), representing more than $11 million in EV investment. The 19 founding members are the first cities to commit to purchasing electric vehicles for their fleets within the first year.

The program’s larger goal is to continue to engage cities nationwide to accelerate the transition of city fleets to EVs.

The new collaborative has launched driveEVfleet.org, which establishes a turnkey, online procurement portal that will provide municipalities across the country with equal access to competitively bid electric vehicles and accompanying charging infrastructure. The platform was developed in partnership with the Electrification Coalition (EC), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit working to accelerate the mass adoption of EVs to reduce U.S. oil dependence.

Electrification Coalition Vice President Ben Prochazka said the collaboration highlights the “incredible market demand” that exists from cities around the country as they plan for an electric transportation future.

“By providing those cities with the right tools to make EV purchases and acquire charging infrastructure it will be more efficient and affordable for cities nationwide to make this shift, a critical step towards reducing our oil dependency and meeting the goals of the America’s Pledge on climate change,” Prochazka said in a statement. “The EC believes the development of this collaborative will be a catalyst to accelerate the transition of city fleets to EVs, reducing emissions, reducing our dependence on oil and saving taxpayer money.”

The EC will serve as the technical expert to support cities in their fleet transition planning, enabling a more efficient and rapid conversion of city fleets and charging infrastructure. Sourcewell, a Minnesota-based organization that offers a cooperative purchasing program, also will provide cities with resources to electrify vehicle fleets, officials said this week.

Climate Mayors, or Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, was founded in 2014 by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, and former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. It is a bipartisan, peer-to-peer network of more than 400 U.S. mayors representing 70 million Americans in 47 states committed to adopting, honoring and upholding the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse are members.

“The clean transportation revolution is no longer a distant vision for the far-off future; it’s a reality staring us in the face, and it’s happening here in Los Angeles and cities across the globe,” Garcetti said. “Through this innovative platform, Climate Mayors are sending a powerful message to the global car market: if you build electric vehicles, we will buy them.”

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State to spend Volkswagen settlement on clean transportation initiatives

car-electric-vehicle-bmw New York will invest its portion of the multimillion-dollar Volkswagen emissions settlement in clean transportation policies and programs, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced this week.

The 2016 settlement, led by then state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, amounted to nearly $128 million. Cuomo on Wednesday said the funds will be used to “dramatically increase” the number of electric vehicles and other clean vehicles in the state. Those vehicles include new buses, trucks, trains, ferries and other vehicles.

The funds also will be used to increase the availability of electric vehicle charging equipment statewide, a program already in progress through the state’s Charge NY program. Since Charge NY was launched in 2013, the number of public charging stations has grown to more than 2,000 statewide. From 2016 to 2017, the number of electric vehicles sold in New York rose 67 percent.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation worked with the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority, New York Power Authority, the state Department of Transportation, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, among others, to develop “Clean Transportation NY,” the state’s plan to strategically invest the settlement funds for maximum benefit and to build on the state’s clean energy and climate change plans, officials said.

The state’s settlement investment is expected to result in at least $300 million of clean vehicles and infrastructure on New York’s roads, the governor’s office said.

“Combating climate change and air pollution and protecting our environment is critical to the very future of this great state,” Cuomo said in a statement. “As Washington continues to roll back protections, New York is more committed than ever to supporting cleaner, greener transportation technologies. By strategically investing these settlement funds, we can take real action to improve community health and sustainability, while providing incentives to address one of the largest causes of harmful pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.”

As part of an aggressive effort to fight climate change, the state plans to use more than 60 percent of the funding to accelerate the adoption of electrified transportation by reducing the cost of electric buses and trucks, particularly transit buses, and providing funding for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

The state will prioritize the replacement of older, high-polluting diesel-powered trucks, school buses and equipment with cleaner vehicles and equipment.

Officials said the nitrogen oxide emission reductions achieved by the $127.7 million investment will exceed the emissions from the faulty VW vehicles and will be equivalent to removing 65,000 vehicles from the road, improving air quality statewide.

“Gov. Cuomo is leading the way on curbing climate change, and this new plan will go even further by expanding the use of clean-fueled vehicles and improving air quality,” said DOT Acting Commissioner Paul Karas. “We are proud to partner with our sister agencies to implement this ambitious plan, making wise use of settlement funds to transform our transportation system so that communities across the state can have clean air and prosper.”

The 80-page “Clean Transportation NY” plan details how the VW settlement funds will be divvied up, but stops short of saying how many and which communities will see the replacement and repowering projects. However, the document states that projects will be located across the state, while prioritizing areas of air quality concern and environmental justice communities, or communities predominantly comprising minorities or low-income residents.

The plan calls for:
• Buses—At least $52.4 million. Statewide replacement projects include 100 or more all-electric transit buses, with funding available for up to 400 new alternative fuel, all-electric or diesel powered school and paratransit buses, with a priority for all-electric school buses;
• Large trucks—Up to $11.5 million, with replacement projects including roughly 145 trucks. Preferential funding will be given to all-electric trucks and replacement of trucks operated in or near EJ communities;
• Medium trucks—$8.5 million in funding, which includes replacement of 265 trucks and priority placed on all-electric trucks;
• Electric vehicle charging stations—$19.2 million for light-duty zero emission vehicle supply equipment and hydrogen fueling stations;
• Railroad freight switchers—Up to $8 million in funding to replace up to 10 freight switchers with new diesel or electric freight switchers or engines. EJ communities will be prioritized;
• Ferries/tugs—Up to $3.5 million in funding to repower up to 12 ferries with new diesel or electric engines;
• Airport equipment—$3.2 million in funding for 77 airport equipment charging stations supporting 154 new all-electric airport ground support equipment;
• Port cargo handling equipment—Up to $1 million in funding for the replacement of older forklifts or port handling equipment with four new all-electric equipment; and
• Support federal diesel emission reduction grants—Up to $10 million to replace older trucks servicing port facilities near EJ communities with an estimated 300 newer diesel trucks.

“We thank Gov. Cuomo for recognizing the importance of investing in public transit and for dedicating a portion of the VW settlement funding to help transit systems invest in the future,” said New York Public Transit Association President and Rochester’s Regional Transit System CEO Bill Carpenter. “Public transit systems across the state are committed to purchasing electric buses and are excited about the opportunity that this funding provides to accelerate the implementation of electric vehicle technology.”

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Power Authority moves forward on electric vehicle expansion across New York

Blink DC fast charger (photo by ECOtality)
Blink DC fast charger
(photo by ECOtality)

The New York Power Authority has issued a request for information (RFI) to identify potential public and private partnerships to address key barriers to electric vehicle (EV) expansion statewide.

The RFI also will help maximize the impact of NYPA’s recently announced EVolve NY program, which will disperse up to $250 million through 2025 to accelerate the adoption of EVs across the Empire State.

“NYPA is well-positioned to help address the key issues that play a pivotal role in moving the electric transportation sector forward,” NYPA President and CEO Gil Quiniones said in a statement. “We are a ‘first mover’ in the EV space. We have the expertise to help reduce market risk and attract private sector investment in the effort to advance Gov. Cuomo’s goal of rapidly increasing the number of EV drivers on New York roads in short order.”

The RFI is intended to help NYPA gauge private sector interest in collaborating on new business and ownership models for developing EV infrastructure and services. It also will help to identify financial, technological and service innovations in the EV space to remove barriers in the marketplace.

EVolve NY is a key pillar of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Charge NY 2.0 initiative, which encourages electric car adoption as it brings the state closer to its goal of installing at least 10,000 charging stations by the end of 2021.

The first phase of EVolve NY commits $40 million to address existing market barriers and financing gaps that are projected to impede development of DC Fast Chargers and develop an ecosystem that makes EVs the easy choice to customers by the end of 2019. Other barriers include a lack of consumer awareness and regulatory issues such as demand charges and lack of incentives for installation of charging stations.

The RFI will be used for planning purposes before NYPA issues separate Request for Proposals to pursue partnerships and obtain services related to fast charger installation along interstate corridors, charger installation at New York City airports and the establishment of EV model communities.

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Rush company launches residential EV charging stations

The PowerCharge standard Energy residential EV charging unit retails at $599.00. (provided photo)
The PowerCharge standard Energy residential EV charging unit retails at $599.
(provided photo)

Moser Services Group LLC’s PowerCharge division has released a series of electric vehicle charging stations for home use.

The Energy Series line of chargers follows the successful launch of the Pro Series line of commercial charging stations in the spring of 2017. The company is located in Rush.

“We continue to identify the needs of our customers, so we have introduced a slim and durable charger designed for residential use,” said Moser Services President Mike Moser. “the unit has a simple plug-in installation and can easily be mounted on a garage wall or a pedestal near a parking space.

The Energy Series includes two residential models. The standard Energy model is a simple plug and charge station, while the Connect model links to the PowerCharge phone app using the home’s WiFi. The Connect model offers progressive features such as charge status reporting, remote on/off switch, scheduled charging and power consumption reporting.

“Most charging stations in the electric vehicle space can be fairly large and require a designated area to be installed,” Moser said. “With the Energy Series, the product is smaller than an 8.5”x11” sheet of paper, has simple plug-in installation and is outdoor rated, so it can be installed almost anywhere.”

Each of the PowerCharge models are up to six times faster than the standard 110-volt plug, delivering up to 20 miles of driving range for every hour of charge time, Moser said. The Energy model retails at $599, while the Connect model will sell for $799.

“The electric vehicle market will continue to grow and designing cutting-edge equipment that fits the lifestyle of the driver will help fuel its acceptance,” he added.

A recent report by Wood Mackenzie Ltd. suggests that North America’s charging infrastructure will draw $18.6 billion by 2030, while the International Energy Agency expects the global fleet of electric vehicles to more than triple to 13 million by the end of the decade.

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New York in forefront of efforts to encourage zero emission vehicles

stock-photo_electric-car_585x329New York State ranks among the top 10 states nationwide for its zero-emission vehicle, or ZEV, policies, a new report from the Electrification Coalition shows.

In its inaugural ZEV State Policy Rankings, New York ranked fifth on the list, behind California, Maryland, Connecticut and Massachusetts. East Coast states occupied the majority of the top 10 rankings.

ZEVs are vehicles that emit no exhaust gas from the onboard source of power. Fully electric vehicles and those run on hydrogen fuel cells, for example, are ZEVs.

From 2011 to 2017, some 30,645 ZEVs were sold in New York, according to the report, with a market share in 2017 of 1.02 percent. The Electrification Coalition touted the state’s “respectable scores” across the board, noting that New York is one of the only states to provide hydrogen infrastructure incentives.

“It also maintains strong public outreach and education,” the report states. But New York could raise its score with a better vehicle purchase incentive.

California is the benchmark state, the coalition said, due to its existing infrastructure and its ZEV purchase incentive. California also has supportive policies allowing ZEVs to use high occupancy lanes, in addition to generous incentives for installing recharging or hydrogen refueling stations.

The Electrification Coalition is a Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan, not-for-profit group of business leaders committed to promoting policies and actions that facilitate the deployment of electric vehicles on a mass scale.

In May, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans to invest $250 million statewide to expand an electric vehicle initiative in New York.

Over the next seven years, New York Power Authority will commit up to $250 million and partner with the private sector and other stakeholders to attract longer-term private investment and collaborate on programs that will amplify the governor’s Charge NY 2.0 program.

The initial phase of funding, which was approved May 22, directs $40 million to be allocated to three primary new programs through the end of 2019, including interstate fast chargers, airport fast chargers near John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports and electric vehicle model communities.

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