Charging station

One of the charging stations at the parking lot for the Irvington Public Library.

Last week, which was National Drive Electric Week, the New York Power Authority and the New York Department of State announced a collaboration to expand the installation of fast-charging stations, which can recharge an electric car in 20 to 30 minutes. 

This new program is limited so far to eight cities in need of downtown revitalization (the closest is Kingston, in Ulster County). But it is just one of the state grant programs to help municipalities defray the cost of EV chargers. 

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has a program called “Charge Ready NY” that provides rebates of $4,000 per port for Level 2 charging stations installed at public lots, workplaces, or apartment complexes. A Level 2 charger can provide 25 to 30 miles of driving range per hour.  

Building alternative-fuel infrastructure has other rewards. Dobbs Ferry, Hastings, and Irvington all installed EV charging stations, earning six points toward advancement in the New York State Climate Smart Communities program. The more climate-smart actions a municipality takes, the more their eligibility for grants. The Village of Ardsley has no public EV chargers.

In 2015, Dobbs Ferry became the first of the quad-villages to install EV chargers in public lots, using NYSERDA funds to place one Level 2 charging station in the municipal lot behind Village Hall and another at the train station. The Village doesn’t charge for the stations, which receive “sporadic use,” according to village administrator Ed Manley.

“I think it’s going to be more as time goes on,” he said on Oct. 1. “As we build, we’re thinking of them in the future.”

When Dobbs Ferry constructed its municipal parking lot at 99 Cedar Street, which opened in December 2018, it did not include charging stations, but placed an electrical conduit underground to make it easier to install car chargers in the future. “I don’t see anything wrong with being ahead of the curve, and we want to be prepared,” Manley said.

Hastings installed its first EV charging station in September 2019.  The Level 2 station, in the municipal Steinschneider Lot, located between Warburton and Southside avenues, has two charge points.  

The Village defrayed 80 percent of the installation cost with a $16,000 grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Users do not need to pay for the electricity, but do need to pay for parking between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Rafael Zaratzian, the Village’s technology director and deputy treasurer, estimated that the “free” charging cost the Village about $1,000 in the first year. 

“It’s used at least three to four times a day,” he said on Oct. 1. “On the weekends it’s heavier. It’s definitely used daily.” 

According to Zaratzian, about 75 percent of the users are from Hastings, 20 percent are from Yonkers, and the 5 percent are travelers directed to the stations by an app such as Chargepoint. 

“The Village is always very involved with the environment and climate issues,” Zaratzian commented. “We have numerous committees involved, to make sure the Village is always on the forefront of environmentally sound procedures and laws.” 

So far, the Village has not found a spot for another public charging station, according to Zaratzian, though a charger has been installed outside the municipal building for the police department’s new Tesla.

Irvington recently installed two Level 2 chargers, each with two charge points. One is at the Aqueduct parking lot near the top of Main Street (no parking permit is required to use the chargers), and the other is in the Irvington Public Library parking lot, on South Astor Street. 

Grant money from the State’s “Charge New York” program paid for $16,000 of the approximately $35,000 cost for the hardware and installation, with the balance paid by the Village.

“There’s no charge for using the electric,” Village Administrator Lawrence Schopfer said on Oct. 1, “but if the vehicle is left there after charging is complete, then they’re charged $5 an hour.” 

The library charger was installed in August and the Aqueduct charger in September, according to Schopfer, so it’s too early to gauge their usage, especially since the library is not in full operation because of the pandemic. 

“The Aqueduct one will be used a bit more,” he predicted. “In the last couple of weeks we’ve had 22 charge sessions, but the Aqueduct one just came on a week and a half ago.”

In addition to the charging stations, the Village of Irvington has purchased electric and hybrid vehicles. The Irvington Police Department has a hybrid patrol car, a hybrid detective’s car, and an electric car for the parking enforcement officer. The water department and the building department each have a hybrid. 

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