By Barrett Seaman–
Gathered around a table at Irvington’s Chutney Massala restaurant Wednesday evening were two Tesla Model Xes, an all-electric Nissan Leaf, a hybrid Leaf and a Volvo plug-in hybrid.
–That is to say, the owners of these various models of electric vehicles were gathered under the auspices of the newly formed Irvington Electric Vehicle, or EV, Club. Launched by Charlotte Binns, the village’s inaugural Sustainability Director, the EV Club is a forum for local owners to share information, to encourage others to go electric and to advocate for policies and practices designed to promote electric vehicle use—and ultimately to help reduce carbon emissions.
According to Binns, there ae 22 Irvington residents who have indicated interest in the club. Six of them joined her for dinner at Chutney Massala, where they shared experiences—mostly good. They have plans to expand beyond the village borders: on Saturday, September 30th, they will hold a joint informational event with counterparts in Hastings in the Zinsser Commuter parking lot, 131 Southside Avenue, adjacent to the weekly farmers market.
EV owners extol three virtues in particular: acceleration, which in some cases puts high-end sports cars to shame; quiet, and simplicity of maintenance. Fewer moving parts lead to fewer repairs.
On the downside, there is cost. Among the cheapest EV models is the Nissan Leaf at just under $30,000. Installing a charger at home will add another $1,000 to $2,500, but there are various rebates as well as state and federal tax credits to offset that.
On the high end, along with the BMWs and Porsches is the industry-leading Tesla, whose Model X goes for about $80,000. An upstart EV, the Rivian, runs close to that at $78,000. Again, there are rebates and credits as well as the leasing option, which dramatically reduces initial cash outlays.
EV owners’ greatest concern remains what is universally referred to as “range anxiety.” Brian Adams, who has been an EV owner since 2013, recalls his first Nissan Leaf had a range of just 70 miles before it needed re-charging. The latest models are promising 300-to-400 miles on one charge, but as the charge levels go down, uncertainty rises. Knowing where charging stations are and whether they are compatible with one’s EV are essential for trips of any distance. (see https://thehudsonindependent.com/an-ev-road-trip-planning-for-the-long-run/, by Dean Gallea). That too has gotten easier as there are onboard apps that locate charging stations (of which there are more and more in the rivertowns and nationally).
Speaking of charging stations, they are proliferating in the Hudson Valley. Irvington already has eight chargers in four locales, and the state is putting up $100,00 to add more. If five more village residents buy EVs, Irvington gets $5,000; 15 new buys will bring in $7,500. If 50 go electric, Irvington gets $15,000.
Plans are being made to install additional charging ports in several locations throughout the Village, including Main Street and the Ardsley-on-Hudson Train Station. All Village charging stations are managed by EV Connect. Drivers wishing to charge need to install the EV Connect Driver App(available for iPhone and Android).
Away from home, SparkCharge, a Massachusetts-based company, is developing a fleet of vans that can re-charge depleted batteries out on the highway. SparkCharge also sells a “Roadie Portable,” a power pack that owners can buy and stick in their trunks, the EV equivalent of a gasoline cannister.
Most rivertowns drivers don’t drive more than 15-20 miles a day, which reduces the threat of battery depletion as it increases the utility of hybrids that rely on batteries only for the first 20-to-30 miles before handing the work over to the combustible engine. The more miles one drives, however, the less benefit there is to the hybrid option.
What some EV owners find unsettling is the dearth of dealerships with service bays, like the Honda complex on Broadway and rte. 119 in Tarrytown. But with so few moving parts, EVs don’t justify large investments in brick-and-mortar repair facilities. It’s far more efficient to make house calls to replace a broken mirror or headlight.
There are two kinds of costs associated with EVs—and both are attractive. Owners say that a full re-charge at a public station costs about a third of what a tank of gas would cost. And then there is the big cost benefit: the environment. The faster EVs replace gas guzzlers, the better our chances of surviving climate change.Read or leave a comment on this story...