Editorial: Charge!

Editorial:
Charge!

Summer has come and almost gone here in Cooperstown, and there have been more people visiting us than in 2020. The streets are abuzz with eager baseball fans, casually swinging their newly made bats, avid bike riders waxing eloquently about their explorations of the hills and valleys of Otsego, and lake lovers fresh from a full day on and in the water. The shop owners, lodgings and restaurants have seen an uplift in sales from 2020, and the village has begun to feel a return to post-COVID life. That was then; now, alas, we are in the throes of returning to that COVID life, as the Delta surge runs through us.
If we are lucky though, this, too, shall pass.

Another interesting note is the increase around town of electric vehicles, both locally owned and from afar. The parking lot of the Otesaga is a good place to find them, as are Doubleday parking lot and, until this week, the Dreams Park and the trolley lots. Sleek, somewhat new and multi-colored, the out-of-towners have brought their owners here for a tour of the Hall of Fame, a week at the Dreams Park, some good productions at Glimmerglass, a round of golf, some lake fishing and a visit to the Fenimore Art Museum and Hyde Hall, and they have come from as far away as New York City and Washington, traveling over routes laid out in their respective maps that display the whereabouts of recharging stations along the way.

There are three types of chargers available to EV owners.

Level 1 is simply a plug-in, 120-volt AC charger that works just like a household plug. This one, which comes with the car itself, takes more than 20 hours to fully charge an exhausted battery back up to 249 miles. Level 2 chargers are also AC operated and are recommended for your EV’s home garage. Charging in a 240-volt outlet takes around 11 hours for 249 miles – i.e. overnight. The charger for Level 3, a Supercharger, is currently for Teslas only (though Elon Musk insists it will be available for all EVs by the end of 2021) and is recommended for pit stops on long road trips, not for daily charging. It will charge up to 200 miles in 15 minutes.

So, what is an EV to do in Cooperstown, when it has arrived without a fully charged battery? New York City is 200 miles away; Washington, D.C. 360; and Boston 240. Getting here from the latter two is a full-battery operation, and New York City is almost as much. The village has four Level 2 charging stations: two are in Doubleday Field parking lot; one at The Inn at Cooperstown; and one at Glen Avenue Suites. The Glen Avenue Suites station is for their guests only. The Inn at Cooperstown also has a Tesla destination charger, unique to that car. That makes five, with only four available to the public.
Alas, Cooperstown has no Supercharging stations for their visiting battery-exhausted Teslas (and soon, other EVs as well). The nearest Supercharging station is in Oneonta, and there are some in Utica and Albany. But, of course, one’s EV must have enough battery left to get to those places.

Is this enough for a village that survives on tourism? Chances are, no. By volume, the EV market is expected to reach 233.9 million units by 2027, with a 21.7% CAGR (compound annual growth rate). This growth is attributed mainly to government subsidies and support, environmental concerns, increasing fuel prices, decreasing battery prices, developing charging infrastructure and the introduction of light commercial electric vehicles (Ford’s F150 Lightning will be out in 2022).

The village, and Oneonta as well, must consider additional charging stations. The government has approved $7.5 billion in EV infrastructure funding towards such stations. Restaurants are good places, as are short-term parking lots and hotels. To combat the fear of fully charged EVs staying too long at the stations while their owners gaze at baseballs or relax on the lake, there is now an idle fee, wherein the EV is charged quite heftily for any overtime. Efficiency is booming. Let’s have some chargers.


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