Car charging sites wave of the future
NISKAYUNA Three new electric vehicle charging stations officially went on line Thursday morning at the Price Chopper in Niskayuna, part of an effort by the company to provide a convenience for those with electric cars and a larger effort by the state to encourage electric car adoption.
The three new stations are at the Balltown Road Price Chopper, with more stores in the region expected to offer the service in the near future.
“This station,” Price Chopper president and CEO Jerry Golub said at the opening, “reflects our commitment to provide increased EV charging accessibility to all who are using or plan to use someday an electric vehicle or a hybrid vehicle.”
It’s those current electric vehicle owners — and the future ones — that companies like Price Chopper and state officials are eyeing, with the number of electric vehicles and gas-electric hybrids continuing to grow.
The Niskayuna Price Chopper now has three of the charging stations, each free to use and funded through a $46,000 incentive from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. They are General Electric WattStations, allowing customers to top up their car’s battery while they go about their shopping.
There are three spots for cars, all under a canopy. They were announced last summer. Four other Price Choppers are scheduled to get the stations, the stores in Latham, Slingerlands, Clifton Park and Wilton.
Guilderland resident Rick Lipinskas was on hand for Thursday’s opening, using his Chevy Volt hybrid to demonstrate how the stations are used. Lipinskas said he only spends $30 on gas each month, as opposed to the $50 per week he might spend with a full gas vehicle.
Lipinskas said the stations provide another way for him to charge, and go that much further without using his gas engine.
“It gives me another reason to come to Price Chopper,” Lipinskas said. “I can plug in for an hour while I do my grocery shopping.”
Similar stations have increasingly come on line in recent years as electric and hybrid cars become more popular. The Saratoga Price Chopper has had three wall-mounted stations since it opened in 2012. Price Chopper’s competitor in Niskayuna ShopRite has had stations at its Niskayuna store since it opened in 2011.
Earlier this month, plans were put in place to install 26 electric vehicle charging stations around Schenectady County, from the public library downtown to Schenectady County Community College. Stations will also be installed at City Hall, the Glendale Home in Glenville, parking garages and surface parking lots.
Access Technology Integration Inc., a company that installs automated parking systems, gates, booths and security cameras, is to undertake that project with a $267,000 award from NYSERDA.
The overall goal for the charging stations is to have as many as 3,000 public and workplace stations available over the next five years to serve up to 40,000 plug-in vehicles on the road.
Also on hand for Thursday’s opening was Frank Murray, president and CEO of NYSERDA. Murray said he believes more stations will help increase the number of electric vehicles from the current number of fewer than 4,000, to 30,000 to 40,000 by 2018 and a million by 2025.
And a part of that infrastructure will be business sites, Murray said.
“At this location, as well as others, customers with electric vehicles will be able to shop for groceries, while charging their non-polluting electric cars for the drive home,” Murray said.
It’s General Electric, the makers of the stations at Price Chopper that is positioning itself for that coming market, with a whole family of charging options.
“We use that as a leading indicator,” said Brian Schmalberger, of GE Energy. “We see tremendous growth in EV adoption and we’re there to serve the market.”