Stewart’s Shops gets company’s first universal EV Chargers!

Stewart’s Shops gets company’s first universal EV chargers, the latest job for Plugin Stations Online

By Justin Dawes- Reporter, Albany Business Review (October 29th, 2021)

Stewart’s Shops has opened four high-speed electric vehicle charging stations at a new shop in Schodack, the first of five installations planned for Stewart’s locations in New York state.

The other Stewart’s installations will be in Moreau, Clifton Park, Latham and Keene. Stewart’s has previously had a handful of Tesla chargers. These new chargers will work with all EVs.

Each of the installations is part of the EVolveNY charging network funded by the New York Power Authority. The EVolveNY initiative includes a plan to install up to 100 chargers across New York state by the end of 2021. Once the buildout is complete, there will be public chargers available every 50 miles or less along major routes.

All five of the Stewart’s installations are part of a deal awarded to the Valatie-based EV vendor Plugin Stations Online to install about 40 EV fast chargers at 14 sites across the state. Fast chargers are able to charge vehicles in roughly 20 minutes. Slower Level 2 chargers, which are currently more common, typically take roughly 90 minutes.

The Stewart’s Schodack location, at 1811 Columbia Turnpike, is the third EVolveNY site that Plugin Stations has installed so far, said John Doran, owner of the company, which is building seven other sites currently.

Plugin Stations just broke ground on a 10,000-megawatt substation for the NFTA depot in Buffalo, Doran said. It’s part of another NYPA contract, which includes installing 10 chargers each year until there’s a station for each of the area’s 150 buses, which means Plugin will be busy with the project until 2035.

New York state has a goal of 850,000 zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025 and 10,000 chargers available by the end of 2021. The state had almost 85,000 electric vehicles as of Oct. 1, according to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, though almost half those were plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that also include a gasoline engine.

Gov. Kathy Hochul recently signed a law banning the sale of gasoline-fueled cars and trucks by 2035.

“We’re endlessly working to install the infrastructure we have,” Doran said.

The company is working on several dozen jobs as part of the the NYSERDA Charge Ready NY program, which offers $4,000 rebates for each Level 2 EV charging station installed at public parking facilities, workplaces and apartment buildings.

Doran said he’s also waiting to hear back about a significant potential deal in New York City. Plugin Stations has recently installed stations at the MTA headquarters and underneath the Triborough Bridge.

Doran said NYPA is looking at installing another 50 stations in 2022, and if that happens, he plans to hire more workers on top of the 30 he has to help with those projects.

But, like many other industries, supply chain issues could affect plans for next year if the problem isn’t solved. “There are huge supply chain issues that are affecting everybody,” Doran said.

He said Switzerland-based ABB, which manufactures the chargers, had to fly the Schodack chargers to the U.S. in order to make the installation deadline — and that wasn’t cheap. ABB is doing the same for the stations that will be installed in Saratoga and Amsterdam. Chargers for another six sites will then be shipped over.

There’s a 16-week wait right now on a part needed for the meter of the transformer, part of the infrastructure needed to power the chargers, Doran said. And the price of copper has gone through the roof, he said. There’s also been a hard time finding wire, pipe, computer chips and more.

“We were fortunate because we made a long-term commitment to NYPA, and ABB’s made a long-term commitment to us. So, we preordered a lot of materials knowing that some of this might be coming,” Doran said. “We have enough to probably complete all 14 sites, and we’re going to have to see what happens in 2022.”

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