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Hugo Jule-Quintanilla, project engineer for e-mobiligity with the New York Power Authority, says he personally saves money by leasing an electric vehicle. (Photo: Lynn Freehill-Maye / Scenic Hudson)

What’s Going On With EVs?

Electric vehicle sales are still growing, but not as fast as two years ago. Here's the latest on affordable new models, charging challenges, and try-before-you-buy options in New York.

by Lynn Freehill-Maye
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One of the most significant choices people can make toward reducing their environmental impact is changing how to get around. Transportation accounts for about 28% of each American’s carbon footprint, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, the EPA reports, primarily come from burning fossil fuel for our cars, trucks, ships, trains, and planes.

That’s why shifting from a gas-powered car to an electric vehicle can be powerful. More than 3 million of than 278 million vehicles in the United States are currently electric. That includes an estimated 36,000 in the Hudson Valley, according to NYSERDA’s most recent EVaulateNY report. And as that share grows, each individual move goes toward making an increasingly strong collective impact.

Electric vehicles make for a quiet way to glide along Hudson Valley roads with reduced environmental impact. (Photo: Jeff Mertz / Scenic Hudson)

Studies show that EV owners tend to love their vehicles. Major selling points include everything from how fast they accelerate and how quietly they glide along to how they reduce the guilt about driving the country’s open roads. That’s not to mention their owners’ appreciation for the money that EVs save on gas and maintenance.

Still, making a change can feel intimidating. An electric model’s initial sticker price might be higher, even though it’s typically cheaper over the long run given gas and maintenance, along with rebates and tax incentives in New York State. Even more so — in a country where gas stations are everywhere — finding a charger when and where you need one can sound daunting.

That may be why EV sales, while still growing 40% year on year, have slowed their pace since 2022, when their growth rate was 52%. So what’s really happening with the hoped-for electric transition? Here are the latest developments.

New Models, Longer Ranges

If you’ve watched big events like the Super Bowl, or any TV at all lately, you’ve no doubt seen more and more commercials for electric cars. Automakers are releasing plenty of exciting new models, and prices of several mid-range offerings are dropping below $40,000 in 2024.

Ranges (the max distances each vehicle can travel on a single charge) of a number of EVs are now north of 350 miles. One type, the Lucid Air, even cracked the 500-mile mark recently in testing. And the innovation continues: Fisker’s Ocean model, which has a solar roof, and the Hyundai Inoniq 5, which has optional rooftop solar panels, have been spotted on New York roads.

New EV models are being announced with higher and higher mileage ranges. (Photo: sturti / iStock)

On the luxury side, Porsche has let it be known that it expects to soon produce vehicles with a stunning 800-mile range and 15-minute charge time using solid-state lithium-ion batteries. That’s excellent news even for those of us not on the high-end market. Once those kinds of batteries are out there, automakers will be rushing to adopt similar technology at more affordable price points. Lots of car companies — including Hyundai, Toyota, and Volkswagen — are now working on their own versions of solid-state technology.

Charging-Network Challenges

Last year, the Biden administration announced ambitious plans to expand charging networks nationally, investing $7.5 billion in the effort. But where the rubber hits the road, the vast majority of states have yet to install any new chargers under the plan, the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program.

The good news for those driving in or to the Hudson Valley is that New York was one of the first two states (along with Ohio) to actually open new chargers under the program. The opening of a new bank of super-fast chargers in Kingston, the EVolve set a half-mile off the NYS Thruway, was celebrated in December.

Hugo Jule-Quintanilla, project engineer for e-mobility delivery at the New York Power Authority, showed off how well they worked on his leased EV in early spring. The state’s goal is to get 200 more of those fast chargers in place by the end of 2024, he says, and 6,000 chargers of all types available in New York by the end of 2025.

Still, installation is a long process, he says, since a charging bank can use as much power as a good-size building. Permitting can take up to six months, procurement can take more than three, and construction can take up to two, leading to overall installation times hovering around a full year. “I always feel that California is the one we’re competing with, but I think we’re doing a strong job of getting this infrastructure up and running,” Jule-Quintanilla says. “We are making it possible for people to travel long distances [by EV].”

Try-It-Out Rental Options

With an electric vehicle being a new kind of ride, many of us would like to try before we buy. So it’s lucky that there are many more rental options than in the past. Turo, a peer-to-peer service that’s like an Airbnb for rental cars, offers some of the easiest options, with a filter to search for only electric vehicles if desired. Traditional rental agencies have added more EVs to their fleets, too. Although short-term demand has been in flux, companies like Hertz say they’re still committed to their EV strategies long-term.

Leasing an EV, like Jule-Quintanilla himself has done, is another popular option for trying out an EV without a long commitment. Most charging of leased and owned EVs is done overnight at home. That can be done using a special charger (which runs about $350 and is tax-deductible in New York), or even just — especially for those leasing — plugging the car into a regular outlet.

Many Hudson Valley municipalities host chargers, as do Scenic Hudson’s Long Dock and Mt. Beacon parks. (Photo: Seth Martel / Scenic Hudson)

At a Hudson Valley hotel or even a town that hosts municipal chargers in business districts and at train stations, overnight charging options are surprisingly ample and can cover apartment dwellers whose buildings don’t offer chargers. (And yes, that includes visitor-friendly regional cities and towns like downtown Hudson, Kingston, and Saugerties, as well as in Beacon, where charging is available at multiple Scenic Hudson parks.)

So take a test drive and start exploring. “Electricity is cheaper than gas, so you can save quite a bit of money,” Jule-Quintanilla says. “The fumes, the pollution, the emissions are gone. And the handling, the power, the smoothness of an EV — it’s a better experience.”

Lynn Freehill-Maye is managing editor of Scenic Hudson’s Hudson Valley Viewfinder. She is also a Hudson Valley-based sustainability writer who loves to run, swim, and cycle outdoors. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Scientific American, Sierra, Civil Eats, CityLab, and beyond. 

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Hudson Valley Viewfinder is a collaborative, community digital magazine sharing what inspires us about the beautiful Hudson Valley. We publish original stories and multimedia content about all things sustainable in the region along the Hudson River — including agriculture, science, wildlife, outdoor recreation, green transportation, environmental justice, and more.

Our mission is to immerse you in the storied history, fresh happenings, and coming solutions for making the Hudson Valley greener and more livable long-term.

Viewfinder is published by Scenic Hudson, the celebrated nonprofit credited with launching the modern grassroots environmental movement in 1963. With over 25,000 passionate supporters, Scenic Hudson’s mission is to sustain and enhance the Hudson Valley’s inspirational beauty and health for generations to come. Viewfinder supports that mission, because the better people understand what makes this place special, the more they will invest in protecting it. 

Keep up with the latest stories by subscribing to Scenic Hudson’s monthly digital newsletter, and connect with us on social via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Threads.

Our mission is to immerse you in the storied history, fresh happenings, and coming solutions for making the Hudson Valley greener and more livable long-term.

Viewfinder is published by Scenic Hudson, the celebrated nonprofit credited with launching the modern grassroots environmental movement in 1963. With over 25,000 passionate supporters, Scenic Hudson’s mission is to sustain and enhance the Hudson Valley’s inspirational beauty and health for generations to come. Viewfinder supports that mission, because the better people understand what makes this place special, the more they will invest in protecting it. 

Keep up with the latest stories by subscribing to Scenic Hudson’s monthly digital newsletter, and connect with us on social via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Threads.

Lynn Freehill-Maye
Managing Editor
editorial@scenichudson.org 

Riley Johndonnell
Director Creative Strategies & Communications
rjohndonnell@scenichudson.org

Lynn Freehill-Maye
Managing Editor
editorial@scenichudson.org 

Riley Johndonnell
Director Creative Strategies & Communications
rjohndonnell@scenichudson.org

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We’re always looking for ideas around our main topic areas of Climate Solutions, Land + Air + Water, Plants + Animals, History + Culture, Outdoors, and Community.
  • Journalists and writers who have deep familiarity with New York and the Hudson Valley, we’d love to have you contribute! Please do introduce yourself by email, sharing writing samples and any relevant pitches you may have.
  • Photographers and videographers, we’d love to hear from you and see what you do. Please send along a portfolio with images or footage that showcases your best and/or most relevant work, with an emphasis on anything captured outdoors. 
  • Illustrators, we commission artwork on the regular. Drop us a note with some of the beauty you’ve created.
  • Media Partners & Social Media Influencers, we welcome opportunities to team up on series and campaigns. Reach out with any background about yourselves and your ideas.
  • We love to collaborate with media outlets, especially on episodic series (like these) of interest to our shared audiences. Past collaborations have included radio interviews, panel discussions and other events, original artwork, and e-blasts, all furthering the campaign’s excitement and reach. 
  • We also love to partner with other organizations whose missions align with Scenic Hudson’s. Feel free to reach out with some background on your group and its work.
  • Writers, photographers, and creatives, if you have an idea for a series or content campaign that might be a good fit, drop us a line!

Businesses, please note that as a nonprofit, Scenic Hudson is restricted from advertising or promoting for-profit companies, through Viewfinder or other outlets. While we understand content managers may wish to alert us to your company’s role in a relevant topic, we are unable to add links to businesses to our stories.

  • We love to collaborate with media outlets, especially on episodic series (like these) of interest to our shared audiences. Past collaborations have included radio interviews, panel discussions and other events, original artwork, and e-blasts, all furthering the campaign’s excitement and reach. 
  • We also love to partner with other organizations whose missions align with Scenic Hudson’s. Feel free to reach out with some background on your group and its work.
  • Writers, photographers, and creatives, if you have an idea for a series or content campaign that might be a good fit, drop us a line!

Businesses, please note that as a nonprofit, Scenic Hudson is restricted from advertising or promoting for-profit companies, through Viewfinder or other outlets. While we understand content managers may wish to alert us to your company’s role in a relevant topic, we are unable to add links to businesses to our stories.

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