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More charging stations needed for NY, EPA electric vehicle goals

Cars are parked with green posts in front with plugs inside the charging ports of the cars.
John Smith
Electric vehicles plug into a charging station on the Syracuse University campus.

While New York is working to eliminate the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035, now the federal environmental agency is pushing strict vehicle emission limitations that would significantly drive up the need for electric vehicles, or EVs, buy 2032. The increased demand for electric vehicles will also require an expansion of charging stations to keep the EVs powered up.

According to New York State data, there are over 3,000 public EV charging stations. But Cornell University professor Bob Howarth, who also sits on the state's climate action council, said more charging stations are needed.

“I do think we need to have a much better charging infrastructure than we have now," Howarth said. "There’s a long way to go, but, you know, it’s happening—12 years is a long way off”.

Although there is time, Howarth said that addressing the need will be hard, particularly when the numbers of EVs increase in more heavily congested population areas.

“It’s going to be a lift. I mean, in terms of charging infrastructure, a lot of people primarily charge at their homes, and that’s fine if you have a single-family home and you can do that," Howarth said. "If you’re a renter or you’re living in a congested area with multi-family homes we need to do better to provide the charging infrastructure to those people, those are real challenges."

On Thursday, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced millions for charging stations across the state, including sites in Central New York, such as Baldwinsville and the town of Salina.

Justin Driscoll, the CEO and acting president of the New York Power Authority celebrated the announcement in a statement from the governor's office.

"Moving EV adoption to the tipping point will require widespread collaboration and consumer education, and New York State agencies are working together to make it easier for consumers, businesses and local governments to make the transition," Driscoll said. "These investments in new charging installations push New York one step closer to a fully electrified transportation system."

Overall, Howarth said he believes that progress has clearly been made on the EV front despite these challenges.

"The battery technology is so much better, the ranges are better, the affordability is there…this is doable," he said.

New regulations proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week are expected to require about two-thirds of new automobile sales be all-electric to meet its emission requirements. Meanwhile, New York set the target of 850,000 zero-emission vehicles by 2025 as a stepping stone to its 2035 goal.

Laddie is a graduate BDJ student at Syracuse University