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First electric vehicle charging station on Shelter Island

TIM PURTELL PHOTO Connie and Keith Lustofin were the first Islanders to use the electric vehicle charging station next to police headquarters this week.

TIM PURTELL PHOTO Connie and Keith Lustofin were the first Islanders to use the electric vehicle charging station next to police headquarters this week.

Good news for electric car owners — Shelter Island’s electric charging station next to police headquarters in the Center is up and running.

The ChargePoint unit, which can charge two cars simultaneously, was purchased last spring via the New York State Municipal Zero Emission Vehicle rebate program. The town paid $16,140 upfront for the unit and installation work, but will get back 80 percent of the cost with the rebate.

There are approximately 25 electric vehicles on the Island. With the new station on Route 114 in the Center, visitors driving electric vehicles crossing the Island will also be able to use the facility.

While the Town’s Green Options Advisory Committee (GOAC) spearheaded the initiative, the purchase was fully supported by Supervisor Jim Dougherty and the Town Board, Commissioner of Public Works Jay Card Jr., the Town Grants Committee, grant writer Jennifer Mesiano Higham, and former GOAC member Quinn Karpeh.

The station’s first customers were residents Keith and Connie Lustofin, who charged their Ford C-MAX Energi hybrid using a ChargePoint card (see below).

Though the Lustofins charge their vehicle at home, Mr. Lustofin sees advantages to having a public fast charger.

“We’ll be able to plug in and get a few extra miles when we go to the post office,” he said, adding that he also views the charger as a way of lessening “range anxiety,” as well as attracting more electric car owners to the Island.

“It’s a big bonus for people planning a trip to know there’s a charger here,” Mr. Lustofin said.

Q & A on E-power — Everything you need to know, if you own an electric vehicle or plan to purchase one
Where’s the station? The station is easy to spot at the East Thomas Street public parking lot adjacent to police headquarters. The unit runs 24/7 and there’s lighting for nighttime visibility.

How does it work? The station is a Level 2 unit (220-240 volts), which means it will be faster than charging at home but not as fast as the so-called fast chargers. For example, a Nissan Leaf that’s completely empty will take about four hours to charge. Cars that just need a refresh will take less time. Though the unit serves every electric car on the market,
Tesla models need an adaptor. When the unit is not charging it consumes around 6 watts of power.

How do I activate the unit? ChargePoint customers use either a member’s card or mobile app, which are free to download from ChargePoint. You can also call ChargePoint at the 800 number listed on the unit. If you don’t have the card or mobile app, you can use a credit card with a chip. For further information, ChargePoint recommends checking out their support site at chargepoint.com/support/owner-faq/.

What’s the cost? The unit will be free of, uh, charge for the first year of operation. The town will then assess usage and determine future fee structure, if any.
What are the perks? Drivers can set up an app that will alert them when their car is charged if they’ve taken a stroll or grabbed a bite while the car is charging. They can also reserve a station in advance.

What’s the unit maintenance? ChargePoint, which has over 45,000 stations across the country, monitors their units every 46 seconds. In the event of a malfunction, ChargePoint can usually address the problem remotely. If not, they send a technician. The town has no role in the station’s maintenance.

DON D’AMATO PHOTO A screen shot of the ChargePoint app.

DON D’AMATO PHOTO
A screen shot of the ChargePoint app.

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