The 100th high-speed charging station in the New York Power Authority’s EVolve NY network officially opened in Riverhead and officials commemorated the milestone Friday in the downtown parking lot now home to four stations.
EVolve NY, which was first launched by the state in 2013, aims to reduce the state’s carbon footprint by investing in electric vehicle infrastructure and to make those vehicles a more viable option for residents. NYPA has dedicated $250 million through 2025 to the program.
The installation of the Riverhead station began in late 2021 in the parking lot behind Maximus Health and Fitness on East Main Street. At the time, officials indicated the site would be operational in early 2022.
The Riverhead site was selected based off the town’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative application. The New York Department of State provided NYPA a list of towns that vying for those downtown grants and were also interested in EV charging in the downtown to attract visitors.
One charging station is capable of charging at 350kw, a state-of-the-art speed. The other three stations are rated 150kw. The speed at which a vehicle charges depends largely on its battery. Newer, and higher-end electric vehicles would be more likely to have batteries capable of charging at the fastest speed. Some vehicles at the Riverhead site could charge in as little as 20 minutes.
“Almost 30% of the EV vehicles owned in New York State are owned by residents of Long Island, so it’s very fitting for us to be celebrating the 100th charger here in New York State,” said Sarah Salati, NYPA’s vice president and chief commercial officer.
An additional Evolve NY site is in Commack and another site will be coming online in Bridgehampton.
Gov. Kathy Hochul earlier this month signed an executive order that set a target for 100% of light-duty non-emergency vehicles to be zero emission vehicles by 2035 and 100% of medium and heavy-duty vehicles by 2040.
“We’re doing that because we’re seeking to protect the environment, battle climate change and fundamentally because the transport industry represents 40% of the emissions within New York State,” Ms. Salati said. “We have a commitment to reduce emissions across New York State by 85% by 2050.”
The Evolve NY network currently has locations spread out across the state largely in areas off the state’s major roads, such as Interstate 90. Charging stations in downtown areas like Riverhead also allow for people to eat or shop while their vehicle charges.
Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar presented Ms. Salati a certificate of appreciation to congratulate the Evolve NY program on its 100th station.
“I wish to extend our sincere thanks to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority who funded this project,” Ms. Aguiar said. “And to the New York Power Authority for their implementation of this program under the direction of Gov. Hochul.”
Ms. Aguiar said the location of the station is ideal between Main Street and the upcoming Railroad Avenue area development.
“Charging stations such as Evolve fast stations help comprise the bolstering of downtown Riverhead’s overall infrastructure, which is critical to the overall revitalization and resurgence of our downtown,” she said. “As more and more New Yorkers make the switch to electric vehicles, the availability of these chargers will unquestionably become more prevalent.”
Electric vehicle owners can find available stations via the PlugShare app. The owners also use a phone app at the charging station to turn it and pay. NYPA can monitor remotely to see how often a station is being used or if something is malfunctioning and requires a technician.
Officials from Riverhead, NYPA, PSEG Long Island and Drive Electric Long Island spoke Friday about the benefits of electric vehicles and had several on display.