Going Electric

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Tompkins Weekly   8-13-18

By Bryan Roy

Do you drive a plug-in electric vehicle? Are you planning to in the next year? If not, what’s stopping you?

There are over 360 plug-in vehicles in Tompkins County and that number is growing every month.

Several factors influence the adoption of electric vehicles (EV), and EVTompkins is working to address these factors to aid and prepare the county for more plug-in vehicles.

Tompkins County was selected through a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority supported project to be a model EV Accelerator Community. The county is becoming a welcoming community for EVs by providing charging, service, and support to local and visiting drivers. EVTompkins, a community led initiative, is working with local stakeholders, community members, dealerships, municipalities, and others to bring together all of the necessary elements of an electrified transportation system. Creating an EV-friendly environment boosts EV sales to higher than the baseline and national averages, a critical first step in moving electrification beyond a niche product.

It’s a great time to purchase an electric vehicle in New York State. There are more models available each year that can fit a range of needs. Currently there are over a dozen completely electric plug-in vehicles that can go anywhere from 60 to over 230 miles on a single charge! There are also dozens of plug-in electric hybrids available that have some electric range plus a gas-powered engine for extra mileage.

New York State currently has the Drive Clean Rebate which is a discount of up $2,000 at the time of purchase on plug-in electric vehicles. The discount is based on the electric range of each vehicle and is available for both all-electric plug-in vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Plug-in electric vehicles also qualify for a federal tax credit for up to $7,500 based on the vehicle’s battery size.

Tompkins County is a great place to own an electric vehicle. There are dozens of public electric vehicle charging stations in the county, with more being installed! There are three “levels” of charging electric vehicles:
· AC Level 1, which is the lowest charge level, provides 2 to 5 miles of electric range per hour and is best used as a “trickle charge” for long-term or overnight parking;
· AC Level 2, which is most commonly used for public stations, provides 10 to 20 miles of electric range per hour and is best suited in downtown areas, shopping centers, universities, and other public spaces; and
· DC Fast Chargers, which can fully charge some vehicles in as little as 30 minutes by delivering DC power directly to the battery on board (rather than AC to DC) and help facilitate longer distance travel in EVs.

In Tompkins County, charging stations are located in a variety of public venues in several communities. These chargers allow EV drivers to travel around Ithaca without having to worry about running out of battery power.

Not only are EVs less expensive to operate and have more options available each year, they are easy to own! Charging at home means you always wake up to a fully charged vehicle, at a fraction of the cost compared to gasoline powered vehicles. EVs also require less maintenance than conventional vehicles like fewer (or no) oil changes and reduced wear on brakes!

Visit EVTompkins.com or their Facebook page to learn more about this exciting technology.

Bryan Roy is the Principal Engineer & Commercial Sector Team Lead at Sustainable Transportation Solutions.

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