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Long Island leads the state in electric vehicle use, report says

Jeff Wheeler, of Amityville, plugs in his Tesla

Jeff Wheeler, of Amityville, plugs in his Tesla Model 75S at the Tesla charging station at Country Pointe Plainview on Tuesday. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

Long Island leads the state in its electric vehicle use, according to a new report.

Of the 42,529 all-electric and electric hybrid vehicles registered in the state as of June, 30 percent were on Long Island, according to a report released this week by Drive Electric Long Island, a coalition of electric vehicle stakeholders.

The percentage is higher than Long Island’s percentage of all passenger vehicle registrations in the state — 22 percent of 8.8 million automobiles as of Sept. 3, according to New York State Department of Motor Vehicles data.

“We attribute Long Island being the largest market for EVs based on our region having the most number of registered standard cars in [the state] and the highest number of cars per household ... along with high median household income,” said Rosemary Mascali, chair of the Drive Electric Long Island education and outreach subcommittee, who authored most of the report.

Founded in 2018, Drive Electric Long Island is led by the Long Island chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council and includes Farmingdale State College, the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College and other groups.

Using data from the New York State Energy Research Development Authority’s Clean Transportation Program, the coalition’s report examines electric vehicle adoption on Long Island, supporting charging station infrastructure and opportunities to expand both.

While the number of charging stations has grown on Long Island, more are needed, the report said.

There is an average of 0.7 electric vehicles per public Level 2 Port in New York State, compared to 42 vehicles per public Level 2 Port on Long Island. (Level 2 stations provide cars with up to 25 miles of driving range for each hour they charge, according to NYSERDA.)

The increasing number of electric vehicles hitting the market and increased awareness about their benefits — reduced greenhouse emissions — will push adoption higher in 2020, the report said. Incentives are a factor, too.

The state’s Clean Pass program allows low-emission, energy-efficient vehicles to use the Long Island Expressway’s high-occupancy lanes regardless of how many passengers are in the cars.

New York’s Drive Clean program offers rebates of up to $2,000 toward the purchase or lease of a new electric car. A federal tax credit for $7,500 is available on electric vehicles, excluding Tesla and General Motors, which have met the federal threshold of selling 200,000 cars to begin rolling back the rebates, said Jeremy Acevedo, senior manager of insights at Edmunds, a Santa Monica, California-based vehicle information provider.

The most popular electric vehicles on Long Island are the Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid, Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid and Tesla Model 3 battery electric vehicle, according to the report.

Even with rebates, price can be a hindrance for the average consumer.

The gas-powered version of the Hyundai Kona, a compact SUV, starts at $20,000, while the electric version starts at $37,000, Acevedo said. The Volkswagon Golf’s gas-powered version starts at $22,000, while the electric version starts at $32,000.

Electric vehicles cost more because the battery packs are expensive and the manufacturers can’t rely on cross-sharing the drive trains and other technology from their gas-powered vehicles, Acevedo said.

Of households with electric vehicles nationwide in July, 69.2 percent had annual incomes of at least $100,000, said Thomas Libby, loyalty principal at IHS Market, a market information firm based in London.

The electric car market in the United States doubled from 0.6 percent in 2017 to 1.3 percent in 2018.

County Number of Registered Electric Vehicles

Suffolk 7642

Nassau 5723

Westchester 4620

Queens 3117

Niagara 2749

New York (Manhattan) 2723

Source: Drive Electric Long Island

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