Owners of electric cars will soon have a powerful reason to stop in downtown Amsterdam.
The New York State Power Authority Thursday announced the Rug City will be one of eight communities to receive an electric vehicle “fast charging” station, which can fully charge an electric vehicle in 20 to 30 minutes.
Amanda Bearcroft, Amsterdam’s community and economic development director, said NYPA has selected a city-owned vacant lot — located in between the Amsterdam Free Library and the U.S. Post Office on Church street — as the best downtown spot for the charging station. She said the state will pay for all of the cost of the project.
Bearcroft said NYPA has chosen past winners of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative as the locations for this initial project to install eight fast charging EV stations.
“This is not only to promote electrical vehicles and space for them in downtowns, but also try to help revitalize some of the downtown areas,” she said. “Now we’re just in the process of working out what that looks like. I think they liked that spot because it is inside our DRI boundary, near one of our anchor projects, the library, and because so many people utilize that lot, and it’s usually for short trips — you’re not generally spending a lot of time in the post office or the library, so having an old-school charging station obviously wouldn’t work because it takes a couple of hours to charge with those, while if your car is near empty these will charge them in [approximately] 30 minutes.”
The initial fast-charging stations are the first part of a $250 million program to help expand the market for electric cars in New York state, all part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s EVolve NY initiative, which aims to deploy 50,000 chargers throughout the state by 2025.
“NYPA’s EVolve NY EV charger infrastructure program is identifying key areas, implementing easy-to-use fast chargers, and raising awareness about the benefits and ease of driving electric,” stated NYPA President/CEO Gil Quiniones in a news release. “[This initiative] will make our downtowns more attractive, futuristic, and functional while helping us make progress in lowering greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector and advance the Governor’s aggressive climate protection goals.”
Cuomo has set the goal of 10,000 EV charging stations in the state by the end of 2021 and 850,000 zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025.
Bearcroft said she’s uncertain how many households in Amsterdam have electric vehicles, but she said it is likely the number will increase over time and the charging station has the potential to become a draw for people with electric vehicles stopping in Amsterdam to recharge.
“We don’t make any money directly from this, all of the revenue goes to NYPA, and we just give them the space for it,” she said. “I think just offering as many instances for people to have opportunities like that in the downtown is what this is for. I don’t know how many people with electric vehicles come through our area, because we don’t have that infrastructure, so just having it will cause people with those vehicles to say ‘Hey there’s a charging station in downtown Amsterdam, I’m going to go there.’”
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s Drive Clean Rebate program has issued $35 million in rebates promoting 25,000 electric vehicle purchases in the state as of June.
Bearcroft said NYPA has told her that the owners of electric vehicles will be able to see that Amsterdam has the fast charging station on internet-based maps.
“People will be able to plan their trips around stopping in Amsterdam,” she said. “For people who have 100 percent electric vehicles, they really need to plan out their trips around areas that have that infrastructure. So, we’d then be on that list, and they’ll know they can stop right off Exit 27 and spend half an hour and charge their vehicles, and they may spend some money in our community, or realize there are opportunities here.”
Mayor Cinquanti praised the initiative in a news release from NYPA.
“Having these fast EV chargers available in our downtown core sends a strong signal to residents and visitors alike that our community is committed to conserving energy and fighting climate change, while also encouraging the use of electric vehicles,” Cinquanti said. “Those are all essential messages for a 21st-century city to convey if it hopes to attract new families and new businesses.”