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State approves $701 million plan to boost electric vehicles

The new state initiative will add thousands of

The new state initiative will add thousands of vehicle charging stations across Long Island. Shown here, a charging station at Heritage Park in Mount Sinai. Credit: Daniel Goodrich

The state Public Service Commission on Thursday approved the Cuomo administration’s request for a $701 million initiative to expand electric vehicles and infrastructure in the state through 2025.

The PSC’s approval of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s “Make Ready” order for electric vehicles accompanies a goal by LIPA and PSEG Long Island to support infrastructure, including advanced charging stations, for up to 188,000 electric vehicles on Long Island by 2025. Long Island already leads the state in electric vehicles, with around 13,000 registered as of September, according to Drive Electric Long Island, an EV advocacy group. The state initiative calls for spending $4.4 million to add 4,650 new vehicle charging stations on Long Island by 2025.

The broader state initiative is part of an effort aimed to tame carbon emissions in the transportation sector statewide by 85% by 2050. Cars, trucks, buses and other gas-powered vehicles make up the lion’s share of greenhouse gas emissions, the state noted, and the sector has increased more than others such as power plants and manufacturing.

Electric vehicles have increased their single-charge range in recent years to more than 200 miles, and nearly all major car makers have introduced fleets of the cars or plan to expand them in coming years.

Cuomo’s “Make Ready” plan will be funded by investor-owned utilities across the state, with a budget up to $701 million, including $48 million from a state settlement in the Volkswagen diesel emissions suit, according to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

The money will be used to buy more than 50,000 fast-charging stations and 1,500 publicly available direct-current fast-charging stations. 

The PSC also directed utilities to create a Fleet Assessment Service to expand the use of  light- to heavy-duty electric vehicle fleets by fleet owners across the state.  NYSERDA already offers rebates for electric vehicles through a program that’s allocated $35 million in rebates toward the purchase of more than 25,000 EVs through June, the agency said.