EV Drivers Get More Charging Opportunities

If you’ve been thinking about making the move to an electric vehicle, but worry about finding places to charge, you’re not alone. A study conducted by AAA surveyed 40,000 electric vehicle owners and another 1,000-plus plug-in hybrid owners. It found that 57% of Americans fear that they’ll run out of range while driving, and 58% believe there aren’t enough electric vehicle charging locations. But there’s good news.

The New York Power Authority is working hard to make “range anxiety” (when EV drivers feel like they do not have enough places to charge) a thing of the past. The first phase of NYPA’s EVolve NY initiative commits nearly $40 million toward the expansion of the state’s direct current fast charging (DCFC) electric vehicle infrastructure. Currently, roughly 100 vehicle-agnostic fast chargers are available in New York, and mostly at lower power outputs that would lead to charging times approaching one hour. NYPA aims to install 200 higher-power chargers, capable of 15- to 30-minute charging times, by the end of 2021.

The EVolve NY DCFC network will include charging sites at intervals of 50 miles on average on key corridors.

EVolve NY is just the first phase of a larger $250 million effort aimed at expanding services for NYPA’s customers and EV owners, as well as raising overall consumer awareness. As an example, our recent installation of a charging hub at JFK Airport features 10 fast chargers for consumers and three additional chargers for electric buses.

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Accessible and convenient

Increasing the number of fast charging stations is critical, because drivers rely on those to travel across New York and the neighboring Northeast Corridor.

The EVolve NY DCFC network will include charging sites at intervals of 50 miles on average on key corridors, plus a 10-charger hub at JFK Airport and urban charging hubs in Yonkers, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo.

These new DCFC chargers are capable of charging electric cars in as few as 10 minutes for nearly 200 miles of added range. New Yorkers can expect to see these 200 new fast chargers blanketing the state’s main interstate corridors and in select urban hubs by the end of this year. NYPA will collaborate with private and public sector partners to determine optimal locations focusing on accessibility, convenience, affordability and reliability of charging.

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The truth about range anxiety

The AAA survey, while showing drivers need public charging options, also revealed a more nuanced reality about range anxiety. It showed that 95% of EV drivers have never run out of range while on the road, which makes sense considering that at least 75% of EV charging happens at home. Furthermore, the average EV driver goes only 39 miles per day, so it’s unlikely they’ll run through a full charge (200 miles) in just one day. In other words: Customers have little range anxiety on a day-to-day basis, but have a lot of range anxiety taking longer road trips. That is the market need NYPA is addressing through EVolve NY.

So what does this all mean to someone who’s on the fence about purchasing an EV in the state of New York? It means that one of the last remaining holdups to EV purchasing — lack of charging opportunities on longer trips and in cities — is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

So, while the EVolve NY initiative can’t do much to relieve the stress that comes with your job or raising kids, it can provide a much-needed cure for range anxiety.