An electric vehicle charging station at East Hampton Town Hall,...

An electric vehicle charging station at East Hampton Town Hall, seen last year. Credit: John Roca

WASHINGTON — New York is in line to receive $175 million in federal funding over the next five years to install additional electric vehicle charging stations as part of the Biden administration’s push to develop a national network of charging stations.

The move will lead to more publicly available charging ports in Suffolk and Nassau, which lead the state in electric vehicle registrations. Suffolk is the top county with 14,856 registered electric vehicles as of March 1, and Nassau ranks second with nearly 12,589 electric vehicles, according to most recent state data.

The exact number and location of the new charging stations has yet to be publicly released as state officials work toward an Aug. 1 deadline to submit their plans to the federal government. But the infusion of federal dollars has sparked discussions about what the future of “filling up” will look like, particularly as gas prices have reached record highs in recent weeks.

“A century ago, America ushered in the modern automotive era, now America must lead the electric vehicle revolution,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said at a February White House event touting the administration’s efforts to increase the use of clean-energy vehicles.

The state is eligible to receive $26 million this year in a first phase of funding. The funding is part of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package passed by Congress last summer that focuses on upgrading the nation’s transportation and communications systems.

The package includes $5 billion overall for states to develop a network of EV charging stations with the administration setting a goal of installing 500,000 stations by 2030. The United States has about 115,000 EV stations, with about 2,900 based in New York, according to the federal Alternative Fuels Data Center.

“It’s going to help ensure that America leads the world on electric vehicles,” Biden said at the White House last month about the plan to expand the country’s electric vehicle infrastructure.

“China has been leading the race up to now, but this is about to change, because America is building convenient, reliable, equitable national public charging networks," he said. "So wherever you live, charging an electric vehicle will be quick and easy.”

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told Newsday at a recent virtual briefing that the departments of Energy and Transportation were working closely to determine where there are “gaps” in the country that could utilize more charging stations.

“We consider the local units of government and the states to be indispensable partners in making sure that the decisions are being made wisely, but that they also are going to the places where we know that there really is need,” Granholm said when asked by Newsday about the administration’s approach to building out the network of charging stations.

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office did not respond to an inquiry about the state’s plan for the federal funding. But in January, as part of her State of the State address, she noted the $175 million in federal funds will build on existing state programs, including $250 million allocated for the EVolve NY program, which aims to install more fast-charging public stations throughout the state.

Last November, Hochul announced a goal of adding 50,000 EV ports for public and commercial use by 2025 — with 4,745 to be placed on Long Island. Hochul also signed into law in December legislation requiring all new passenger vehicles sold in the state to be zero-emissions by 2035.

Kevin Miller, director of public policy for ChargePoint, one of the nation’s largest operators of EV charging stations, said in an interview, “Long Island’s geography and existing transportation system are going to be major strengths when competing for federal funds.”

“The region has major transportation corridors, all with ideal sites for EV chargers,” Miller said.

Miller said the majority of electric vehicle owners — about 80% — typically charge at home or at work, and most EV vehicles can travel about 200 miles without needing a recharge, But a more expansive national network is needed to give drivers the confidence to drive longer distances without worrying if they’ll be stranded in an area without immediate access to a charging station.

“Charging your EV won't always involve this sort of destination pit-stop fueling environment,” Miller said. “Your EV is like charging a phone; you typically don't let your phone get down to zero-percent charge … you charge overnight and top off when the opportunity arises like at your desk when you work, or when you go to the grocery store and you're plugged in … so we need to have EV chargers to be as ubiquitously accessible as USB ports.”

Jeremy Michalek, a professor of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, said that as state and federal officials map out where to place the EV stations, they need to take into consideration that some holiday weekends may put more strain on the power grid.

“At highway rest stops I think that is going to be a challenge with larger adoption, because lots of people like to drive on the same days like Memorial Day weekend, and so if everybody's demanding the infrastructure at the same time it might go idle other times and then be so heavily used on those periods,” Michalek said in an interview. “It takes longer to charge a vehicle than it does to fill a gas tank so the lines might be really long.”

Electric vehicles accounted for 3% of car sales last year, or roughly 400,000 vehicles. The Biden administration has set a goal to increase EV sales to 50% by 2030 as part of an overall push to reduce carbon emissions.

Man dies in Commack house fire … Farmingdale bus crash fundraiser … WWII Honor Flight Credit: Newsday/NewsdayTV

MTA's 20-year plan ... Man dies in Commack house fire ... Preventative cancers ... Hamptons Film Festival

Man dies in Commack house fire … Farmingdale bus crash fundraiser … WWII Honor Flight Credit: Newsday/NewsdayTV

MTA's 20-year plan ... Man dies in Commack house fire ... Preventative cancers ... Hamptons Film Festival

Latest videos

Newsday LogoCovering LI news as it happensDigital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months