April 6, 2023

Electrification in New York: An Essential Guide to Charging Your Electric Vehicle in the Empire State


9 Min. Read

New York state is currently one of the most EV-friendly states in the US, offering government incentives, an extensive charging infrastructure, and a diverse and rapidly increasing range of available EV models.

Whether you are planning to purchase an electric automobile or truck, or already own one and are planning an extended excursion, New York’s charging infrastructure has got you covered.

Charging stations are being installed along well-traveled transportation corridors, from Buffalo to Long Island, and equipped with dining options, restrooms, and other traveler amenities, making them the perfect stop to rest up while your EV charges. Moreover, EV charging stations are already available in commuter lots and Welcome Centers, with plans to deploy more charging stations in 30-mile intervals across the state.

With such a comprehensive charging infrastructure, EV drivers can access different types of charging stations, including Level 2 for home and public charging, and DC fast chargers for fast charging while traveling across the state.

This guide provides all the necessary information to help you charge your EV with ease when traveling throughout the state of New York.

EV Charging Infrastructure

New York is reportedly the second most EV-friendly state in terms of charging stations deployed. The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is the primary government department responsible for deploying the charging infrastructure in the Empire State.

The NYPA is supporting several of the EV infrastructure initiatives responsible for implementing the installation of public and private charging stations throughout the state. One example is EVolve NY, a $250-million initiative establishing fast charging stations along crucial, well-traveled transportation corridors in densely populated urban hubs and adjacent to major airports. Organizers expect 400 fast chargers to be deployed or being readied for deployment by December 2025.

The EVolve NY charging stations are being installed or are planned for deployment in intervals of about 50 miles along major interstates from Buffalo to Long Island. The locations are being developed with easy access from the highway, dining options, restrooms, and other traveler amenities adjacent to each station. Travelers are already utilizing several of these stations.

In addition, the Thruway Authority has already deployed 40 EV charging stations in their commuter lots, Welcome Centers, and other highly trafficked locations. The Thruway Authority anticipates deploying more than 120 Level 2 and Level 3 charging stations within 30-mile intervals, on average, systemwide. Many are already operational, and chargers at some locations are available at no cost to assist travelers.

New York City’s PlugNYC initiative is installing a comprehensive network of 120 publicly accessible Level 2 chargers and DC fast chargers within the five boroughs that comprise the broader city in partnership with Con Edison, the utility powering the metropolis. Besides installing chargers at municipal parking facilities, the initiative is deploying curbside charging stations in each borough. Only vehicles actively being charged can park in front of the curbside chargers. The concept encourages people to charge their EV battery and then promptly move their vehicle to allow someone else to use the station.

Types of EV Charging Stations

The statewide public initiatives, as well as many with private partnerships, focus on deploying fast charging capabilities to help drivers “fill up” and get back on the road as fast as possible, but this isn’t the only type of charging station, and charging at home is often the most popular method of keeping your EV charged.

Here are the different types of EV chargers:

  • Level 1 – The 120-volt cord that accompanies a new EV facilitates Level 1 charging. The process is similar to charging your smartphone; you use the cord to plug your vehicle, usually overnight, into any regular household outlet. While convenient, Level 1 charging is very slow, adding only a few miles of range each hour. This technology is adequate for local commuting but is far too slow for people to employ for longer driving needs or when they need to stop and charge their battery during a lengthy journey. That is why the New York charging infrastructure initiatives (and similar efforts in other jurisdictions) focus on deploying Level 2 and DC fast chargers (also referred to as Level 3 charging stations).
  • Level 2 – These charging stations use a higher voltage (240v), the power level required for larger household appliances such as clothes dryers or electric ovens, however, outlets for these common household appliances are frequently not ideal for Level 2 EV charging as the components are not designed for consistent high-powered voltage. Using the incorrect grade of materials can lead to a greater risk of causing an electrical fire over time. While double the voltage of Level 1, Level 2 charging stations deliver a full charge four times as rapidly as a Level 1 charger. Most vehicles can be fully charged within 5 to 10 hours using a Level 2 station. These devices are typically the preferred option being deployed at grocery stores, office buildings, shopping mall parking structures, hotels, and many other destination locations, as well as in the curbside NYC program. Using a Level 2 public charger may be free or require a small fee. They are ideal for adding some range while the vehicle sits idle when buying food, seeing a movie, or running other errands. They are also ideal for residential use, to ensure your vehicle is fully charged when you get up to face the day.
  • DC Fast Chargers, aka Level 3 – The fast devices available at present employ direct current (DC), whereas homes use alternating current (AC). Accordingly, they must be deployed in commercial areas that can accommodate higher voltage levels. These fast chargers are also being installed adjacent to major travel corridors nationwide to support long-distance drivers. The gold standard for charging on a road trip, Level 3 charging stations deliver over 30 miles of range per 10 minutes. Be aware, however, that not every electric or hybrid vehicle can use fast chargers and that relying on this type of EV charger as a primary source for charging can lead to significantly increased battery degradation over time.

EV Charging Costs in New York

Countless studies have shown that charging an EV battery costs far less per mile driven than filling the gas tank of cars with internal combustion engines. While the costs vary by local electricity and gas costs, and if paying to use a public charger, operating a battery-powered automobile is approximately three times cheaper per mile driven and, on average, costs 5 cents per mile to operate.

That said, New York does have higher than average electricity and charging costs. Costs at home vary by type of charger and time-of-day utility rates. If you have your own charger or regular access to one, you can control your costs. Furthermore, utilities in the Empire State are promoting EV use via incentive programs and reduced electric rates for charging at off-peak times. For example, ConEd allows EV owners to accumulate cash rewards and pay lower electricity rates for charging during off-peak times.

What does it cost for an EV driver to charge their vehicle on a road trip throughout the state? Commercial EV charging station networks have sprung up, such as EVgo and Chargepoint. They operate networked charging stations for public use. Rates do vary and are available through the respective smartphone apps. Some networks also offer loyalty programs or discounts for frequent users.

The NYPA’s EVolveNY chargers cost $0.35/kwh along with tax, with no idle or session fees. Hypothetically, fully charging a 100-kwh battery would cost about $35, not that you would let the battery be completely dead.

How much do the curbside Level 2 chargers cost to use? The stations charge on a per-hour basis. Users pay $2.50 per hour if they use the stations between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., but pay only $1 per hour for overnight charging. Customers can use their smartphone or credit card to pay for sessions.

There are also public Level 2 chargers that are free to use or have low costs in a variety of locations. The charging stations at malls, movie theaters, and restaurants, for example, are often free to encourage EV drivers to make that site a destination to visit (and spend money at) while charging.

Planning Your EV Travel in New York

If you plan to travel in New York using your EV, it is advantageous to map out your trip in advance. It would be helpful to consider the distance you want to travel daily and the charging stations available along the route. The Thruway may plan for chargers every 30 to 50 miles, but dividing the route evenly doesn’t consider detours, sightseeing, or places you may want to visit off the main interstate. It also doesn’t take into consideration that elevation and weather may affect battery range. While EVs are reportedly great at climbing hills, battery range is often lower in cold temperatures.

There are several online resources and apps available to help you plan your EV travel in New York:

Convenient Charging Options – There’s No Place Like Home

With the move to electric vehicles accelerating, New York will keep expanding the charging infrastructure options to enable EV owners to charge their batteries, whether in dense urban settings or elsewhere in the state. If you haven’t gone electric (or hybrid) yet, it’s the optimal time to identify an electric vehicle that accommodates your budget, lifestyle, and driving needs.

In the Empire State, more than 60 car models (with sticker prices starting under $30,000) qualify for government incentives to reduce their cost. Through the Charge NY initiative, you can receive Drive Clean Rebates of up to $2,000, depending on vehicle range and sticker price, for purchasing or leasing a new EV. You can combine that with the Federal Tax Credit of up to $7,500 and other federal programs to encourage electrification projects.

Finding a Charging Solution

One of the essential facts about charging an EV is that the majority of it is done at home, generally overnight. Getting a Level 2 charger installed makes the convenience of fast charging at home possible. Consider installing a home charging station for ultimate accessibility and convenience. Installing a residential charging station also enables you to take advantage of optimal charging times and solutions, particularly in winter weather.

How do you find qualified, experienced contractors to install a Level 2 EV charger? Contact Qmerit! With the largest network of certified electricians in North America, Qmerit is the most trusted electrification solutions provider recommended by auto manufacturers, EV charging providers, utilities, property owners, and homeowners alike.

Qmerit offers simple and seamless electrification and EV charging station installations – no matter the scope of your project – and is here to help you find the right solutions with a qualified electrical contractor for the job.

Author: Greg Sowder

Greg Sowder

President, Qmerit Network