A little over a year ago The Freeman’s Journal put forth an editorial on the subject of electric vehicle chargers, which were at the time pretty scarce within the Village and, in fact, even outside the Village. The reason we explored the local availability of these chargers was, of course, that our tiny historic Village has been, and is, the destination of myriad urban baseball, sports, scenic and music explorers whose mode of transportation to Cooperstown is increasingly an electric or hybrid vehicle. We know this because there are signs of them throughout the Village, many of them silently sitting with silently draining batteries in the parking lots of the hotels, museums and baseball parks.
EV chargers come in three types. Level 1 is simply a plug-in 120-volt AC charger that works just like a household plug. It takes around 20 hours to fully charge an exhausted battery back up to a range of 249 miles. Level 2, also AC-operated, will charge your vehicle to a 249-mile range in around 11 hours — merely overnight. This one runs on a 240-volt outlet and is recommended for your home garage should you invest in an EV. Level 3, the Supercharger, is still for Teslas only, but the company maintains the charger will be available to all EVs by late 2022. (In fact, Tesla has already figured out how to make this work as it provided supercharging, at no cost, to EVs and their owners fleeing Ukraine last March. Now it must bring this to all of us in North America.)
Superchargers are available across the country at a variety of service stations, shopping malls and parking lots, charging a vehicle up to a 200-mile range in 15 minutes — enough to get from Cooperstown to New York City. This charger is recommended for pit stops on long road trips, not for daily charging. And these pit stops should be, so say the electrification experts and consumer surveys, no further than 30 miles apart, thereby preventing the infamous “range anxiety” that is preventing people from feeling comfortable switching to electric vehicles.
In Cooperstown, last summer, there were four Level 2 charging stations: two in the Village-owned Doubleday Field parking lot; one at the Inn at Cooperstown; one at Glen Avenue Suites (for their guests only). The Inn at Cooperstown also had a Level 3 Tesla Supercharger.
This year Cooperstown has no Supercharger for its visiting Teslas, but there are a few new Level 2 chargers lurking about. Royal Ford has a plug, along with a 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning to use it. Ommegang has eight plugs; the Barnyard Swing has one; Glimmerglass State Park has four. Bassett Medical Center, indeed looking ahead, has put two chargers in one of its employee parking lots. Most of these chargers work most of the time, but occasionally they are deemed not up to snuff, inviting sharp remarks on social media.
Is this enough for a village that welcomes and survives on tourism? Probably not. There are a lot of new EVs on the market; the government is issuing new incentives; climate concerns are increasing; the price of gas is fluctuating, mostly at a high rate; and the batteries that supply these EVs are becoming more reasonable. The EV era is upon us, and it behooves us to be, perhaps, more prepared than we think we are.