NYC’s First EV Charging Station Now Open

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On July 15, New York City unveiled the first of more than 100 public EV charging stations it will be installing in the coming months. This is a necessary undertaking, considering the anticipated release of EVs like the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt later this year.

The vehicles, both of which have a charging range of 100 miles, would require an infrastructure of charging stations awaiting them to be feasible.

They will be in place, thanks to a federally-sponsored $37 million program called ChargePoint America, which is supported by Coulomb Technologies and made possible by a $15 million Department of Energy grant.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and Congressmen Jarrold Nadler and José Serrano all attended the ceremony, which took place in Manhattan at an Edison Properties parking facility on Ninth Avenue between 35th and 36th Streets.

Mayor Bloomberg believes that increased EV usage will help “meet the ambitious goals [of NYC’s] long-term sustainability agenda” PlaNYC 2030. “Coulomb Technologies and the ChargePoint America program will help us support a new type of vehicle on City streets so we can reduce pollution and emissions in the most efficient way,” he said in a speech.

The City of New York plans to buy at least 40 electric vehicles for various governmental agencies this year.

Rep. Serrano applauded the decision to make NYC a recipient of EV chargers. “Today, I am happy to see progress toward […] a clean energy future,” he said.

The program’s expansion to NYC holds a number of eco-friendly benefits, according to Richard Lowenthal, CEO of Coulomb Technologies.

“Installing these stations will impact the City in several ways: First, it will provide jobs to plan and install ChargePoint charging stations around the city. Second, it will reduce carbon emissions here, and third, it will give New Yorkers the opportunity to choose a vehicle that reduces our dependence on oil,” he said.

The program, which has a strategic partnership with Ford, Chevrolet and smart USA, plans to establish 4,600 new public and home ChargePoint Networked Charging Stations by October 2011. It will also provide maps and driving directions for EV owners to inform them about station locations.

ChargePoint will provide Level II (220-240 volts) charging stations only, meaning that a vehicle can charge within four to six hours, deemed optimal for overnight or long-length charging. Lowenthal says that the stations accept credit cards just as a gas pump does.

The charging systems are provided at no cost to the recipient through the DOE program, although the cost of installation is the recipient’s responsibility. These costs range between $1,000 and $10,000, with home charging stations being less expensive and public curbside charging stations being more expensive.

In some cases, like in California, state grants pick up installation costs. At the launch station in NYC, Edison parking paid for the installation.

The program will provide EV charging infrastructure to nine other U.S. regions including Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Jose-San Francisco Bay Area, Calif.; Austin, Texas; Washington D.C.; Detroit, Mich.; Orlando, Fla. and Bellevue-Redmond, Wash., which were chosen based on geographical demand.

Automakers plan to concentrate their sales of plug-in cars in areas that are installing the charging stations. They can already be found at Chicago’s Department of Fleet Maintenance,Orlando’s City Hall Plaza and throughout California, where Coulomb Technologies is eventually installing a total of 1,600 stations.

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