New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday announced an investment program that will see $750 million go to building new charging stations and other infrastructure for electric vehicles. All of this is part of the state's long-term goal of reducing emissions.
It's not often we report on an announcement that involves just one U.S. state, but the fact is this investment has the potential to impact – positively - the future vacations and travel of millions of Canadians, especially those residing in Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritime provinces.
There’s no doubt that the addition of 50,000 charging stations will make it easier to travel to and within the state of New York in an electric vehicle. While those already converted to the cause don’t hesitate to take to the road with the current charging network in place, for many other motorists the addition of stations can only reassure them and deliver another incentive to buy an electric-powered vehicle.
The program will be largely funded by investor-owned state-owned utilities. The total budget is capped at $701 million until 2025. However, an additional $48.8 million is available under an agreement concluded in 2017 with German manufacturer Volkswagen following the diesel engine scandal, to finance development of electric school buses, public-transport vehicles and charging stations.
New York State's announcement follows a similar move by Florida, which announced an $8.6 million investment on July 10 to expand its network of charging stations. And of course, Florida is another preferred destination for Canadians, especially in winter.
All of this depends on longer-distance car travel being once again permitted and advisable.
Sales of electric vehicles have been steadily increasing in recent years, but still represented less than 2% of all vehicle sales in the United States in 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Widespread adoption has been partly stifled by the lack of reliable charging networks, most of which are concentrated in densely populated urban areas and along the east and west coasts of the U.S.
While vehicle range has increased significantly in recent years, when surveyed many consumers still point to the higher initial cost of EVs, for starters, as well as the lack of charging infrastructure, for putting off going electric.
New York State’s announcement represents a step in the right direction.
See also: Review of the 2020 Nissan LEAF Plus