April 22, 2016
Electric car charge dim in area
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Two charging stations for electric vethicles were installed in 2015 by Price Chopper in the Cortlandville Crossing parking lot. So far, they’ve been getting little use, with only 32 electric vehicles registered in Cortland County in 2015,according to a report by NYDatabases.com.
CORTLANDVILLE — On Monday afternoon, in the parking lot of Price Chopper, off Route 13, the two parking spots dedicated to electric vehicles — with a free charging station at both spots — were empty.
On Tuesday, they were also empty. Wednesday, empty. On Thursday afternoon, one of them was occupied, but by a diesel Dodge Ram pickup.
“I’m not sure why they (the charging stations) were put in,” said Leon Walts, co-manager of the Cortlandville Price Chopper. “Some people use them every once in a while.”
The charging stations toward the front of the store parking lot were installed in 2015. And since then, Walts said they haven’t gotten a lot of use. He said it was a corporate decision to put them in and they were probably installed with good intentions.
“I think once people know we have them, they can be good advertisement,” Walts said. “People with electric cars will see they’ll be able to charge their car at the store and come in and shop here.”
Price Chopper benefits from having the only electric charging station in Cortland County. But, aside from out-of-town plug-in hybrid or full-electric vehicle drivers traveling on Route 13, there were only 32 electric vehicles registered in Cortland County in 2015, according to a report by NYDatabases.com. Down from 33 in 2014. In Broome County there were 93 registered in 2015 and in Onondaga County there were 165, according to the same report.
“The interest for electric cars has seemed to trail off,” said Jeromy Bushey, assistant director of operations for the Royal Auto Group of Cortland.
Chevrolet and Nissan offer plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles, most notably the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf. And the Royal Auto Group has a new car dealership for both manufacturers, but as of now it has no intention of selling electric vehicles.
“We had the opportunity to sell some electric cars, but we decided not to because at the time we would have been the only place in Cortland with a charging station,” Bushey said.
He said there would have also needed to be costly upgrades to the facility to accommodate the charging stations.
Dovi Motors, a Ford dealership in Cortland, faced the same issue. Ford offers a number of hybrids and an all-electric Ford Focus, but Jesse Dovi, a manager at Dovi Motors, said the dealership passed on selling the cars due to the infrastructure upgrades and lack of interest.
“Some customers would come in and ask about them (electric cars), but none of them ever showed any serious interest,” Dovi said.
According to a report by Bloomberg.com this year, the popularity of electric cars is on the rise. The report projects that electric car sales will slowly rise year to year, with more lower standard priced electric cars coming to the market — such as the Chevrolet Volt (estimated sticker price $30,000) and Tesla Model 3 (estimated at $35,000) — and electric vehicles would account for 35 percent of new vehicle sales by 2040. And with companies like Porsche and Jaguar developing electric vehicles, the interest in electric vehicles will begin to span a wide demographic.
Dovi said if the interest in electric cars around the Cortland area grows, the dealership would look into selling what Ford has to offer. And Bushey said there is a strong possibility Royal Auto Group would sell electric vehicles in the future, but no time frame on when that would happen is set.
The two electric charging stations at Price Chopper are free, with a two-hour limit, for anyone in the area with a plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle.
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