Electric vehicles charge free at SUNYIT

Electric vehicles charge free at SUNYIT

Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 08:00
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New York State is making it easier for motorists to get charged up, thanks to the addition of an electric vehicle (EV) charging station on the SUNYIT campus. Located near the Student Center parking lot, the station is free and open to the public. The charging station and others like it across the state are the result of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “Charge NY” initiative.

EV-charging-station-resized.jpg “The Charge NY initiative is laying the groundwork for New York to be the next big state for electric vehicles,” said Robert E. Geer, acting president of SUNYIT. “With more than 3,000 registered electric vehicles in NYS alone, public EV infrastructure is necessary for those vehicles to be on the road. Governor Cuomo’s Charge NY initiative calls for increasing investment in EV charging stations across the state.”

It’s all part of a state-wide public-private partnership aimed at improving  environmental sustainability and increasing access to cleaner, more efficient modes of transportation, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“If we can continue to reduce greenhouse gases and make an effort toward sustainability, that’s a great thing,” said Carson Sorrell, director of facilities management. “That’s why SUNYIT is involved—encouraging and practicing sustainability is an institutional goal.”

More than 80 EV charging stations throughout New York State, 67 of which will be in National Grid’s service area in upstate New York, are being deployed by ChargePoint, the largest and most open EV charging network in the world. Vehicles that can be charged on the SUNYIT campus include the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi I-MiEV, Ford Fusion PHEV, Ford CMAX PHEV, BMW Active E, Honda Accord PHEV, Tesla Roadster, Tesla Model S, Smart EV, Lincoln MKZ PHEV and the Chevy Spark EV. More vehicles are expected to be released over the next few years that will be able to charge up at the stations on campus and across the state.

Charging an electric vehicle is as easy as swiping a card to pay for gas. The stations are open to anyone, with three options available on how to activate them for charging. Users can register for a ChargePoint card at chargepoint.com, call a number on the station to activate the machine, or swipe a credit card, which won’t be charged when the campus stations are used. The stations can charge two cars at a time and it takes 4-6 hours to do so, Sorrell said, faster than charging a vehicle at home because the campus station operates at higher voltage—220 instead of 120.

“That’s one of the main attractions of the charging stations on the SUNYIT campus and others being installed as part of the ChargeNY initiative,” Sorrell said. “While many ChargePoint stations across the country require a fee for use, the charging stations in New York State, including those on the SUNYIT campus, are free. The hope is to create an infrastructure that allows for more electric vehicles on the road and make them capable of traveling greater distances across the state, as they have more chance to charge up when needed.”

Sorrell says that a five-year agreement with National Grid means that the stations will remain free for the public to charge vehicles until at least the fall of 2018. The cost of the station was about $17,000 with support from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, National Grid and SUNYIT.