By: Megan Valle and Kian McKoy
Two new car charging stations started working at Heritage Park, Mt Sinai on September 15, in Brookhaven. The stations come in at a total of $44,000 and are each outfitted with two pumps. They were added as part of the town’s effort to promote the use of green technology.
The stations were paid for with a grant from the state Energy Research and Development Authority. The stations allow 4 cars to charge at the same time and are available for public use during park hours.
“If I was out and had to charge my car, I would have to go to the closest Toyota dealership to charge it,” Patricia Martin, a Long Island native and electric-hybrid owner explained. “It’s great that they are adding more stations around the Island, it means that more people must be using them and I’m glad!”
Town officials want to assure drivers, that if they choose to make the switch to electric vehicles, it will be easy to plug them on the go.
“By expanding charging infrastructure, the town is building on recent breakthroughs in battery technology and costs that are now allowing electric and hybrid vehicles to become mainstream,” Jane Bonner, Brookhaven Councilwoman, said.
The goal within the electric vehicle industry is to create batteries that supply a high level of power in order to speed up charging times, said Matt Teske, the CEO of Chargeway.
According to their website, “Chargeway is a software platform, mobile app and communication solution for the auto industry designed to improve the electric car customer experience with “electric fuel”.
“The next generation of charging stations should be able to provide a full charge to an electric vehicle with 300+ miles of range in approximately 20 minutes,” Teske said.
Electric and hybrid vehicles are marketed to consumers as a better alternative to traditional fuel powered cars because of the financial and environmental benefits that come along with going electric.
“Although it is nice to know the car isn’t emitting as much emissions, I was looking for efficiency from a Miles Per Gallon perspective,” Franco Milio, owner of a Prius Plug-In, said.
Owners of electric and hybrid vehicles save on gas and are compensated by the state for making the switch from gasoline to battery powered cars through tax incentives and other perks.
When Milio purchased his Prius, he received about a $7,500 tax deduction from NYS taxes. He was also able to get a ‘green’ EZ Pass tag, which provides cheaper rates on some toll bridges, and a sticker for his bumper that allows him to use the HOV lanes on Long Island when driving by himself.
“EVs are cleaner in part because we can use renewable power like wind and solar instead of petroleum and also due to the fact that electric motors are more efficient than gasoline engines,” Dr. David Reichmuth, Senior Engineer of the Clean Vehicles Program at the California Office of the Union of Concerned Scientists, explained. “They are recharged just like you would any other rechargeable battery, like a phone or laptop.”
But there is no decisive way to tell if a large carbon footprint is being left behind, Beia Spiller Lead Senior Economist at the New York City Office of the Environmental Defense Fund, said.
“The amount of clean energy emitted varies by state because some states have a cleaner grid than others,” Spiller, said. “In some states, electric vehicles are even worse for the environment than gas cars because of how much coal and gas is emitted through electricity.”
Determining the environmental impact of electric vehicles is extremely difficult for the average car owner. Spiller noted that as the grid gets cleaner, the environmental benefits of electric and hybrid vehicles will continue to grow.
Brookhaven plans to install another electric vehicle charging station at Town Hall and if residents and visitors express a need for more stations, officials said they will move to expand the town’s network.