SUNY New Paltz unveiled its first six electric vehicle (EV) charging stations on campus last week. These stations are part of New Paltz’s overall plan for sustainability as well as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “Charge NY” program, which aims to install 3,000 EV charging stations statewide by 2018, according to an article on wamc.org. All six stations are located in the Route 32 and Elting Gym parking lot on campus.
According to SUNY New Paltz Sustainability Coordinator Lisa Mitten, New Paltz aims to create an EV-friendly environment as well as encourage rapid adoption of EV technology for commuting students and faculty.
“EV charging stations are an important component of growing sustainable transportation options on campus,” Mitten said. “We had the opportunity to install electric vehicle charging stations nearly for free (we only had to contribute 10 percent of the total cost [and] New York State paid for the rest of it.) We jumped on this opportunity as soon as we learned about it.”
According to WAMC, EV charging will cost $1 per hour for the first four hours of charging and $5 per every hour after that. Mitten explained that these stations are intended for “topping off,” not everyday use.
Mitten said that the school’s “target audience” for the EV charging stations is mainly faculty and staff, as these groups are most likely to be able to afford EVs. A recent survey of faculty and staff determined that 24 percent of staff would absolutely consider a completely electric vehicle for their next car purchase, while 33 percent might consider the option. Mitten said she believed the survey results to be “very positive.”
Mitten also cited the popularity and success of similar EV charging stations across the SUNY system.
“University at Stony Brook and University at Buffalo both have EV charging stations,” Mitten said. “At Buffalo, so many people have purchased electric vehicles that they have much higher demand for charging spots than spaces available.”
First-year undeclared student Alexis Shea said she approved of New Paltz’s decision to install the charging stations and supports the school’s push for green technology and sustainability.
“I feel like the charging stations would be a positive step and it would be great to see the campus doing those things,” Shea said. “Green energy is definitely the future, in my opinion.”
However, some students expressed frustration with the campus’ shortage of parking for ordinary commuters who don’t drive EVs. Twitter user @Elise_Brucche called searching for parking at SUNY New Paltz an “epic saga.” Another user, @therumham_ agreed, expressing her annoyance at the school’s choices to “take even more parking spaces away from commuters.”