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Rollout of retail charging stations aims to spur use of electric vehicles

A new electric vehicle charging station was unveiled at a western New York retail store Wednesday. It is hoped that greater accessibility to the stations at retail locations, will encourage more people to buy electric cars.

Tops Markets in Williamsville is the first retail location in the region to offer electric vehicles charging. The unit brings the number of EV charging stations across the state to 500.

The station was installed though the collaborative efforts of company ChargePoint,NYSERDA and National Grid. It was funded through Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Charge NY initiative, announced earlier this year. Republican State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer says he supports the push for electric vehicles as a way to lessen dependence on foreign oil.

“I think at some point in time a few years from now in the typical two-car family, one of those is going to be an electric car and the other will be a regular gasoline engine. So, I think we’re moving in that direction. It helps the environment and I think people are very cognoscente of that,” said Ranzenhofer.

The new unit at the Williamsville Tops Market in Erie County is free for the public to use. ChargePoint Vice President of Government Relations Colleen Quinn says the units also have a positive impact on the economy. 

“People aren’t using gas, they’re saving money, and it has a good impact on the economy from the point of view that these are new jobs. Every charging station that is put in is a local job. Two people go to work to put that station in place, so we’re generating jobs, it’s good for the environment, and it’s good for the establishment. They’re getting more customers that will stay longer and loyalty from their customers,” said Quinn.

Depending on weather, the construction of three more retail EV charging stations will begin this week at various Kohl’s locations around Buffalo. Fifteen more charging units are expected to be installed in western New York by the end of September.

The Charge NY initiative has set a targetof 3,000 stations statewide by 2018.

WBFO/Western New York reporter for the Innovation Trail.
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