The Curious Case Of New York's Missing Electric-Car Purchase Incentive


2016 Nissan Leaf SL, Hudson Valley, NY, Dec 2015

2016 Nissan Leaf SL, Hudson Valley, NY, Dec 2015

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Electric-car advocates in many states have found that purchase incentives can be one of the most effective ways to encourage greater adoption.

As neighboring states reap the benefits of rebate programs, it's likely to make New York electric-car advocates green with envy.

While the state has made some efforts to expanding electric-car adoption, it doesn't offer the purchase incentives that have become a powerful tool for spurring adoption in other states.

DON'T MISS: New York City To Deploy Vast Electric-Vehicle Fleet By 2025 (Dec 2015)

Northeastern states with incentives include New York neighbors Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, as well as nearby Delaware and Rhode Island.

Meanwhile, New York's transportation sector accounts for 34 percent of the state's carbon emissions, according to the Sierra Club.

The environmental group argues that other efforts to promote electric cars in New York won't be effective without cash incentives, and that greater numbers of electric cars could have an outsized impact on lowering carbon emissions in the state.

2016 Chevrolet Volt, Catskill Mountains, NY, Dec 2015

2016 Chevrolet Volt, Catskill Mountains, NY, Dec 2015

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New York already generates 25 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, and that amount is likely to increase as the state implements Governor Andrew Cuomo's plan to phase out coal-fired power plants.

Electric cars get cleaner as the electricity used to charge them does, so New York may reap greater environmental benefits from a large fleet of electric cars than states with dirtier grids.

Advocates suggest, however, that New York's lack of state-level incentives shouldn't be mistaken for an aversion to electric cars.

 ALSO SEE: Connecticut Electric-Car Incentives Unveiled, Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Cars Included (May 2015)

The state's Charge NY program subsidized 500 public charging stations, and there is talk of funding 900 more.

Electric cars also get solo access to carpool lanes in certain areas, and an existing income-tax credit covers up to 50 percent of the cost of charging equipment.

On a more local level, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced a plan to replace 2,000 municipal vehicles with electric versions by 2025.

New York City skyline (by Flickr user AngMoKio)

New York City skyline (by Flickr user AngMoKio)

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The city has also explored adding electric taxis, and requires a certain percentage of new parking spaces to be preconditioned for electric-car charging.

Historically tricky relations between the large state and the wealthy city that generates a huge proportion of its income mean that state and city policies are sometimes out of sync.

But New York state will likely need purchase incentives to meet its own goals for electric-car adoption.

MORE: Tesla To Add More Model S Electric-Car Charging Sites In NYC (Aug 2015)

In 2013, New York joined seven other states in signing off on a goal of putting 3.3 million electric cars on the road by 2025.

New York's share of that total includes 850,000 cars--which would be a major jump from the estimated 14,500 currently on the state's roads.

It seems New York still has a very long way to go.

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