Electric car charging stations open in Niskayuna

Posted at: 04/25/2013 5:21 PM
Updated at: 04/25/2013 5:44 PM
By: Bill Lambdin

NISKAYUNA - Plug-in electric cars from mainstream manufacturers are now on the roads of the Capital Region.

Some, like the Chevrolet Volt, have gasoline back-up when the battery drains after 40 miles or so.

Others, like the Nissan Leaf, are pure electric battery. They range typically from 75 to 100 miles but after that you'll need to charge or get towed.

"We need to provide the EV charging station infrastructure in order to encourage consumers to buy electric vehicles," said Francis Murray of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which is paying most of the cost of installing charging stations statewide.

Enter Price Chopper. The supermarket chain has agreed to put three electric car charging stations at its Niskayuna store, with four more locations planned in the Capital Region.

"They don't necessarily need to be a Price Chopper shopper to come and plug in," said Joe Berman of Price Chopper. "I mean we would like that but the charge is free to anyone who wants to come in and use it."

NYSERDA, the state agency promoting this technology and picking up a lot of the costs hopes the 4-thousand or so electric cars on the road now will multiply to a million over the next decade, saving petroleum, reducing pollution and greenhouse gases.

Other charging stations are being built at various locations, so that drivers like Rick Lapinskas, who has had a Volt for two years, will have a lot more options.

"It promotes a technology that is pretty much American," said Lapinskas. "We have the lead. We should keep the lead."