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Hochul Announces Multi-Million Initiative for Electric Vehicles

Over the summer, New York announced a $12 million initiative to advance electric vehicle adoption and integration with the electric grid. 

According to a press release, the initiative will “… support the development and demonstration of innovative, replicable solutions that advance electric vehicle adoption and the integration of electric vehicles with the electric grid.” 

In addition, the plan will help support “medium- and heavy-duty electric and hydrogen fuel cell technologies” as the New York State moves to zero-emission vehicles by 2035. 

Andrew Bartz, the superintendent of public works for the Village of Arcade, explained that these heavy-duty electric and hydrogen fuel cell technologies relate to larger vehicles like buses, delivery and garbage trucks that use hydrogen fuel cell technology as an alternative to electronic vehicle (EV) technologies.

“This technology (hydrogen fuel cell) uses the same kind of electric motor to turn the wheels that a battery-electric car does but is powered by a fuel-cell stack in which hydrogen is passed through a membrane to combine with oxygen from the air, producing electricity,” Bartz said. “The only byproduct is water vapor.”

The U.S. Department of Energy reported that these hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are fueled with pure hydrogen gas, which is stored in a tank on the vehicle. 

“Similar to conventional internal combustion engine vehicles, they can fuel in about five minutes and have a driving range of more than 300 miles,” the department reported.

However, there are very few places to fill up on hydrogen. Bartz explained that California is currently the only state with a network of retail hydrogen fueling stations. 

“The cost of hydrogen right now in California varies between $5 and $8.50 per gallon,” Bartz said.

In addition to advancing toward fuel-cell technologies, this initiative aims to further integrate electric vehicles into the electric grid. 

Right now, the EV concept has shown that it affects our electric grid. 

Bartz gave an example, stating that if every family owned two electric cars with two Class 2 chargers, this would increase the average home with another 100 amps added to their electric service. He said that the average home has a maximum service of 200 amps at the load center. With EVs, residents will need to double their service capacity to 400 amps. 

“We need to invest in building the infrastructure before we add all these components because this will cause a ripple effect on the electric grid,” he said  “The power company would have to increase the size of the wire on the secondary service, increase the size of the transformer, increase the size of the primary conductors, increase the load on the feeders that transmit the power to the substation, and add load to the station transformers. This would technically double the load on an already increased electric load demanding time.”

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