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Charge It

Guilderland apartment complex debuts two new EV charging stations

by Peter Iselin on February 6, 2013


Photo by Shannon DeCelle.

The Capital Region got a little bit greener Tuesday (Feb. 5) when two new electric vehicle charging stations were unveiled at Woodlake Apartments in Guilderland.

The Woodlake installation is the first of many charging stations planned by the property’s owner-manager, Albany-based Tri City Rentals, under a federal and state grant program administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. Tri City Rentals owns and manages 24 properties in the Capital Region—including the 568-unit Woodlake complex off Schoolhouse Road—as well as 10 in the Rochester area and 11 in greater Buffalo. “We plan to install similar stations in western New York this spring,” said Murray C. Massry, Tri City Rentals project manager.

According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, there are between 1,100 and 1,200 EVs (including plug-in electric hybrids) statewide, but the U.S. Department of Energy counts only 163 charging stations in the state to date.

The Woodlake charging stations are available for both tenants and the general public. Remarkably, there is no cost to drivers for the electricity; the expense will be covered by Tri City Rentals. The company, which is the largest apartment owner-operator in the Capital Region, paid 20 percent of the $25,000 cost of the charging stations. The remainder was provided by state and federal grants.

“With so few EV charging stations currently available,” said Julie Massry Knox, director of marketing and leasing for Tri City Rentals, “this is not only a great benefit to our present and future tenants and EV drivers in general, but more significantly a tremendous contribution to energy conservation in New York state.”

The Woodlake charging stations are part of the ChargePoint network, which allows EV drivers to locate and reserve use of charging stations using a smartphone app. “Drivers can get turn-by-turn directions to the nearest station and check availability,” said Tri City Rentals general manager Tim Owens.

The charging stations are designated “Level 2,” a power rating that translates into a typical charging time of as little as three hours for EVs—including hybrids—that are similarly rated.

At a press event Tuesday morning, two local car dealers—DeNooyer Chevrolet and Metro Ford—provided a Chevy Volt and two Ford EV models to demonstrate the charging process. Although recent news reports have been less than sanguine about consumer response to the new generation of EVs, representatives from both dealerships claimed that sales have not been below expectations.

Of course, one of the primary deterrents cited by potential EV buyers is the lack of charging stations. It’s a classic chicken-and-egg situation, but Tri City Rentals hopes its efforts will make a difference. “We’re proud to be part of this exciting program,” said Owens.