New York State Needs More EV Charging Infrastructure

by Peter Aronson

It’s a rather simple proposition: For New York State to decarbonize its transportation sector, which is essential to meeting our climate goals, the state must drastically increase its number of EV charging stations.

The transportation sector in New York State generates 29 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions (GGE), making it the second largest polluting sector after buildings, according to a 2022 Report from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. The state’s overall goal is to reduce its GGE 85 percent by 2050 and to have zero GGE from all new passenger cars, pickup trucks and SUVs sold in the state by 2035.

“New York is doing a better job than a lot of our neighbors on EV charging infrastructure, but we still have a long way to go,” Patrick McClellan, policy director for the New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV), said in a recent interview. “There’s no question that we lack adequate charging capacity right now, so this is an urgent issue for the state to address, because certainly you want to make sure that you have the adequate charging capacity first before you have the cars on the road.”

The federal Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will hopefully provide a huge boost to the number of EV chargers throughout the state, including within private homes and in public places.

While some of the tax-incentive details are complex,  NYLCV’s IRA Consumer guide provides a good overview. For EV purchasers, the IRA provides tax credits for the installation of home EV chargers up to 30 percent of the cost, not to exceed $1,000.

For businesses, the same 30 percent tax credit applies, with a maximum of $100,000 per installation. 

On July 19, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that the state now had 150,000 passenger EVs on the road and that it was allocating $29 million for building level 2 EV charging stations, under the Charge Ready NY 2.0 and Drive Clean Rebate Program.

NYLCV supports this effort, but the state needs to go much further. Level 2 charging stations provide a short burst of power for EVs, but the state desperately needs many more Level 3 chargers. Here’s the breakdown of charger capacity, as per Car and Driver magazine.

Level 1 will charge an EV at an almost non-functional rate, providing 2-4 miles of driving range for every hour of charging;

Level 2, which is recommended for homes of EV owners, provides 12-32 miles of driving range for each hour of charging; and

Level 3, which is essential for long-distance travel along highways, provides 100-250 miles of driving in 30-45 minutes of charging.

Clearly, Level 3, also known as DC fast chargers, is what’s needed across New York State, including along its highways and the NYS Thruway.

According to the New York State Thruway Authority, there are 33 Level 3 charging stations at 15 charging hubs and 21 Level 2 charging stations at 11 hubs along the Thruway.  The Authority has a stated goal of building 120-fast charging EV stations by the end of 2025, with an average of no more than 30 miles between each charging hub.

The private sector is helping out. Revel, a Brooklyn-based company that provides EV transportation options, announced in April that it was opening its second public, ultra-fast EV charging hub with 15 stalls in Brooklyn. It is accessible 24/7 for all EV brands. Reval said it plans to open three more charging hubs by 2024, a 60-stall site in Maspeth, Queens; a 30-stall site in the South Bronx; and a 10-stall site in Lower Manhattan. The company’s first site is located in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

New York City recently took a big step in the right direction by announcing an agreement to create up to 13 Level 3 charging hubs in parking facilities, which would have a total of 50 fast-charging plugs. The hubs would be located in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens., furthering Mayor Eric Adams plan for environmental equity by bringing charging resources to communities that lack access. In addition, the city announced in January that it was receiving a $10.1 million federal grant to purchase approximately 1,000 city EVs and install 315 additional EV charging stations.

We urge Gov. Hochul to build on her announcement in July and sign the Highway and Depot Charging Action Plan, which was passed by the State Legislature in the 2023 session. With this plan in place, the state would establish a much-needed highway and depot charging action plan, to assist in achieving EV infrastructure targets set forth by the climate leadership and community protection act. 

The bottom line is, drivers need to be confident that they can “charge up” when needed in a convenient, cost-effective way. If the confidence is lacking, they won’t buy EVs.

To find EV chargers in New York State, click here and search by location or zip code.