by Alexander Roberts –
Twelve years ago when they were installed at the train station on the west side of the tracks, Tarrytown’s three electric vehicle chargers were state-of-the-art. Heavily subsidized by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York Power Authority (NYPA), they were lightly used by the few plug-in vehicles of the time.
Not anymore. In 2012, there were just over 50,000 electric cars sold in the United States. Today, there are more than 1.2 million and Tarrytown’s free chargers are nearly always being used, even though one of the units hasn’t worked for months, and there are no parts available to fix it. In fact, according to Tarrytown Village Administrator Richard Slingerland, all three will be out of service by December 31, victims of a product no longer supported by the manufacturer (Eaton), and a modem with old 3G technology.
However, the village is already in discussions with Charge Ready New York to buy six brand new EV chargers with the latest technology, effectively doubling the station’s capacity to serve electric vehicles (tripling if you consider that one is already out of service). Slingerland said NYSERDA is offering about $4,000 in rebates for each device, which nearly covers the cost of installation. It’s estimated that the free chargers cost Tarrytown about 20 cents per kilowatt hour, or $2 for a 10-hour period. There are no plans to charge for the electricity in the six parking spots; however, all vehicles must have a Tarrytown parking sticker weekdays until 2 p.m., or, a recreation sticker after 2 p.m. on weekends. The three chargers are in spaces 1182, 1183 and 1184.
Tarrytown resident Bill Altneu, who has a Nissan Leaf, appreciates the free charging, but lamented that some commuters plug in when they leave for work early in the morning and don’t move their car until they return, long after it is fully charged. “Some people treat the charger as their personal amenity, rather than a public amenity,” he said.
While there are no plans to charge for the electricity, the village has discussed changing the code to accommodate payments for cars that are no longer actively charging. It’s hoped, however, that the six new Level 2 chargers will satisfy the current demand.
“Tarrytown will continue to encourage residents to drive electric vehicles,” said Slingerland, “to reduce our carbon footprint and improve the village’s air quality.”