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Mayville Makes Smart Choice, For Now, On Electric Vehicle Charging Station Grant

The Mayville Village Board’s recent decision to pass on adding a new public electric vehicle charging station would seem to fly in the face of logic.

After all, the state is pushing hard to move drivers from gas-powered vehicles into electric vehicles over the next 13 years. Charging stations are popping up throughout the region, usually by local governments who get a state or federal grant that pays much of the cost.

But Mayville may be on to something.

For starters, this generation of charging stations comes with a pretty short shelf life. Charging stations installed in Jamestown in the past five are already nearing the end of their useful life and will need to be replaced soon. It’s one thing for a city utility company to find grants for electric vehicle charging stations on a regular basis. It’s more difficult for smaller towns and villages.

The second factor is one Mayville Mayor Ken Shearer alluded to during a recent meeting. A public charger in Westfield has been barely used over the past two years — making the up-front investment hardly worth it for either the state or small villages. Mayville residents who purchase an electric vehicle will likely charge their vehicle at home, meaning the village’s investment is likely being made for the benefit of those visiting the village, not living in the village.

New York and states across the nation need to build out electric vehicle charging infrastructure, but that build-out must be done in a way that isn’t merely throwing money down the drain. One hopes the next generation of chargers comes with a longer shelf life so that new chargers are actually adding to charging capacity, not just replacing old capacity.

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