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The Real Deal: Electric Car Charging Stations

Updated: Wednesday, March 20 2013, 01:56 PM EDT
ALBANY -- The State of New York is shelling out 8 million dollars to companies
and municipalities that want to install electric car charging stations.  More
than a million dollars of that money is being handed out here in the Capital
Region.  Dozens of charging stations will be installed at grocery stores,
apartment complexes and hotels in the coming year with the help of these grants.
   

Dan Degener of Albany bought a Chevy Volt about 8 months ago and
loves it, "I haven't filled up at all, I put in 2 gallons just to see how much
it would take," he says.  He drives about 20 miles back and forth to work every
day and then plugs his car in when he gets home.  He has never used a public
charging station.  

CBS6 reviewed Department of Motor Vehicle
registration data which shows that there are just 1100 electric/hybrid cars in
the State of New York that could utilize public charging stations and only 102
of them are being driven here in the Capital Region.  Of those 102 cars, 55 are
owned by the State of New York.  

"It's quite a bit of money to spend,
considering the amount of people that do have the cars," says Donna Osterhouat a
taxpayer from Albany that does not have a plug-in car.  Kim Scattareggia, also
of Albany, echoed the thought, "there's a lot of other things they could be
doing with that money in this area, fixing roads and using it for other
reasons," she says.

CBS6 Reporter, Jennifer Lewke, reached out to
NYSERDA, the agency passing out the cash and Governor Andrew Cuomo's office more
than a dozen times over the course of two months requesting an on-camera
interview about the investment in these charging stations, both offices denied
the requests.  In an email, a NYSERDA spokeswoman said, "New York's investment
in its EV infrastructure will help encourage the use of EV's and will allow New
Yorkers to decrease their dependence on fossil fuels thereby reducing their
carbon footprint...developing the state's EV infrastructure will stimulate the
economic activity across the state and protect the environment."

The
state has already awarded $4.4 million to 10 companies across the state to
install the stations.  A second wave of $3.8 million in funding will be handed
out in the coming months.  The projects that are selected for the grants are
paying approximately 43% of the total cost, with NYSERDA paying 57%.
 

The state is taking a "build it and they will come" approach as is the
Federal Government who also plans to invest millions of dollars in this
technology here in New York in the coming years.  "You're not calculating the
immense benefit that's coming, you're looking at it in a single frame of a snap
shot that just doesn't tell the whole story and if we thought like that through
the ages or decades of existence we would have been no where," says Congressman
Paul Tonko, who is the former Director of NYSERDA.  When asked whether he was
worried the technology wouldn't catch-on after the investment has been made
Tonko says he's not, "I think this investment is a sound one for the purposes of
the environment, the ecology and the economy."

But even Degener, who
loves his Volt, says the way to encourage more people to buy them and other
plug-in cars, is to drop the price.  Right now, most plug-in models start around
$40,000

[Click here] for Jennifer Lewke's full interview with Congressman Paul Tonko.
The Real Deal: Electric Car Charging Stations


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