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State Comptroller’s office unhappy with placement of EV charging stations

Earth and Main

With the statewide promise of a full transition to electric vehicles by 2035, many New Yorkers are wondering how they’ll be able to charge their cars when they’re away from home.

Thankfully, the New York Power Authority has been working for years now on installing electric vehicle, or EV, charging stations across the state. But a recent audit by the state comptroller’s office found that the Power Authority is missing the mark in terms of where they’re installing these charging ports.

“You really want to encourage the use of EV chargers and if you are a county without one,” said Deputy Comptroller Tina Kim. “I'm not quite sure how that encourages, you actually convert over to an [electric] vehicle.”

Kim, who oversees the department’s auditing, and the report note that EV charging stations are present in only 32 of the state’s 62 counties.

While on paper this may seem alarming, a spokesperson from the Power Authority says there’s a method to their madness.

“They're all mostly installed on, you know, large corridors or traffic corridors around the state just to allow people to get from point A to point B without concern,” the representative said.

He said charging stations are strategically placed along places like the state thruway, where there’s generally more long-distance travel and a higher need for charging.

“The growing extensive network will make it much easier for New Yorkers to drive across the state and feel confident that they will easily find a place to recharge or EVs in 15 to 30 minutes,” he said.

The spokesperson said this strategy is easing what’s called “range anxiety” or the fear of running out of “fuel” in an area with no charging station.

However, Kim said there’s more to it than that. She wonders how drivers will be encouraged to buy electric vehicles if there are no charging stations within reasonable proximity to them.

“Part of that is not only decreasing range anxiety but also making those chargers available statewide to individuals who have EV cars,” said Kim.

All-in-all, the comptroller’s office is looking to hold the Power Authority accountable to New York’s drivers as they move closer toward reaching their ambitious climate goals.

“If you say you're going to do something, then we are going to make sure that you do it,” said Kim.

Madison Ruffo received a Master’s Degree from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, where she specialized in audio and health/science reporting. Madison has extensively covered the environment, local politics, public health, and business. When she’s not reporting, you can find Madison reading, hiking, and spending time with her family and friends.