LYONS — Hometown Auto Service owner Martin Williams doesn’t make much money repairing electric vehicles at his busy, 50 Geneva St. shop, which many might know as the place with the giant American flag mural on the front of the building. However, he’s not naive enough to think that electric cars aren’t the future of automobiles.
You may soon see Teslas, Volts and an ever-increasing lineup of electric cars and plug-in hybrids pulling into his parking lot. They may not be there for traditional repairs such as brakes and tires; instead, they might be recharging at one of three EV-charging stations he’s installed.
He was able to offer the new service in part because of a state program designed to offer more of those systems across New York.
“I get exposure, and it brings traffic here (to his business and the community),” he said. “I thought somebody has got to step up.”
The three units were installed by Colacino Industries of Newark, which has added vehicle-charging station installations to its service offerings. The chargers are manufactured by Norwalk, Conn.-based JuiceBar.
JuiceBar’s regional sales manager is Todd Freeman, and his involvement in selling Williams the three charging stations came by way of a family reunion.
Williams had received several calls informing him that the state had a program that would provide significant financial assistance for the power stations’ purchase and installation. He was interested.
After meeting Freeman at the family gathering, he chose JuiceBar.
Williams said he would not have been able to afford the charging stations without significant financial assistance, but thanks to Norm Waterman, the retired Newark funeral home director who does administrative work for Colacino, he was able to apply for funding through the New York State Energy and Research and Development Authority.
“We assist the owners in applying,” Waterman said.
Freeman said Williams’ three chargers are of the common Level 2 variety, with two plugs at each station, meaning six cars can charge at one time. He said it takes 8-10 hours to fully charge a car — most don’t wait until they’re empty — and EV owners can expect to drive 275 miles on a full charge.
The technology is improving rapidly, they noted. Tesla has Supercharger stations that can charge a vehicle’s battery in about 15 minutes for a range of up to 200 miles.
According to NYSERDA, the price for buying and installing a charging station can vary. The agency said they are generally priced from $1,000 to $4,000 per charging port, while a typical installation costs between $2,000 and $5,000 per port. Waterman said the installation can get pricier if additional wiring is necessary.
Under NYSERDA’s Charge Ready NY Program, the agency provides incentives of $4,000 per station.
The $17 million program was scheduled to run until Dec. 31 or until the money ran out — and it did. Williams got some of the final funds available.
“I got through by hours,” he said with a laugh.
There are incentives available through the federal government and NYSEG, Waterman noted. He also is hopeful that given such high demand, NYSERDA will reauthorize funding, given the state’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions and the need to have a broad network of charging facilities statewide.
“We have high hopes they’re going to replenish,” Waterman said.
However, Freeman said JuiceBar is offering a lease-to-buy program, providing an affordable financing alternative if state incentives don’t return. And, if they do, those who are leasing will be able buy them with help from the NYSERDA incentives, he noted.
As it stands, the state does not have a large network of charging stations, said Williams, who has a phone app that allows electric car owners to find stations while on the road. There are just a handful in Wayne County.
Williams’ charging stations are connected to a network, and electric vehicle owners can purchase power through them. As for what he’ll charge for a charge, that’s still to be determined, he said.