Albany unveils high-speed EV charging station downtown

Albany unveils high-speed EV charging station downtown

ALBANY – Albany electric vehicle drivers, as well as pedestrians, now have a high-speed charging station downtown.

Officials from the New York Power Authority and National Grid, as well as Mayor Cathy Sheehan, County Executive Dan McCoy and electric vehicle enthusiasts and advocates gathered Wednesday in the basement of the city’s Quackenbush parking garage on Orange Street to show off the four new machines. Which can charge the car in less than half an hour.

The Quackenbush station, installed by NYPA, is the fifth charging station operated by the authority in the metropolitan area. Others are in Stewart’s store parking lots in Schodack, Latham, Clifton Park and Saratoga Springs, said Jim Bright, NYPA’s e-mobility project engineering manager.

The Quackenbush garage also has slower chargers on its second level, with a total of 13 chargers.

The key to fast charging is a higher kilowatt rating, with this new capacity ranging between 175 and 350 kilowatts.

Equipped with Tesla adapters and other plugs, the devices can charge various brands of electric vehicles — as evidenced by the charging of the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Rivian pickup truck and Kia hatchback on Wednesday morning.

The Kia was part of the NYPA fleet. E-fills cost about $25, Bright said.

Not only can city residents living in apartment buildings use these devices, but travelers can as well, Cathy Sheehan said. Quackenbush Parking Garage is located directly off I-787.

Drivers who do not have monthly passes to park in the garage will be required to pay a parking fee to enter and use the charging station. Gov. Kathy Hochul’s statement regarding the charging station did not clarify how much the parking fee would be to access the garage.

Serving apartment dwellers is a difficult but essential component of encouraging more electric vehicle use. While suburban homeowners can charge their cars in their driveways at night, chargers are not yet ubiquitous and are easily accessible in densely populated urban areas.

“I’m excited to expand access and encourage more people to choose electric knowing they have the ability to charge on the go,” Sheehan said during a short ribbon-cutting and demo event.

Overall, NYPA maintains approximately 150 charging ports in 38 locations along major travel corridors statewide.

New York is steadily building out its network of electric vehicle chargers, said Steve Birkett, a social media personality and electric vehicle advocate who contributes to the Torque News EV website.

He lives in Boston and sometimes drives his electric car into western New York along I-90. In 2017, parts of the Thruway west of Albany were “almost like a desert,” he said, when it came to charging stations. That has changed since then.

New York hosts nearly 1,300 public fast chargers at more than 300 locations, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center. Their speed ranges from 25 kW to 350 kW, which equates to different charging times. Nearly 800 of them are Tesla-only chargers.

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