Legal Alert

New York’s Charging Station Legislation Paves the Way for More Electric Vehicles

by Steve T. Park, John P. Smolen, and William Estes
August 8, 2023


In an effort to accelerate electric vehicle (EV) usage, New York’s Legislature passed four vehicle charging infrastructure bills this session that are awaiting action by Governor Kathy Hochul. Under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), New York State has some of the nation’s most aggressive clean energy mandates, including requiring all new passenger cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs sold in New York to be zero-emission by 2035.

The Upshot

The four EV charging bills:

  • require the development of a needs evaluation for EV fast chargers and upgrades to the electrical grid along New York State priority highways and near densely populated areas;
  • require the development of reliability standards for publicly available EV charging stations and toolkits or incentives to improve EV chargers;
  • require commercial garages to grant public access to EV chargers at reasonable rates if the garage received governmental funding or incentives for their EV charging stations; and
  • require the development of a mobile app and webpage identifying locations and fees for EV charging stations.

The Bottom Line

As the transportation sector accounts for the second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in New York, these bills are intended to increase confidence in EVs' travel range and create greater access to chargers. Significant state and federal funds are being invested to deploy EV charging infrastructure, including through the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program established by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

As of the date of publication, New York has 155,988 registered EVs and 9,739 public charging ports. That number needs to increase substantially if New York State is to meet its Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) goal of 850,000 EVs by 2025. The four bills below seek to assuage a significant fear many individuals have when deciding to purchase an EV – “range anxiety” – or concern for the distance an EV can travel on a charge.

A.05052C / S.04830-C seeks to support New York’s build-out of a statewide network of EV fast chargers and the attendant need for electric grid transmission and distribution infrastructure.  EV fast chargers use significant amounts of electricity, and many existing and potential charging sites are unable to accommodate this increased electrical demand. The bill mandates the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) to develop a charging needs evaluation which will, among other things: identify the number and location of needed charging hubs on priority highways and near dense urban areas; estimate future electrical power needs for fast chargers; analyze costs for this build out; and identify federal and state funding opportunities.

A.1721B / S.05120-B requires the Public Service Commission (PSC) to: develop minimum EV charging standards and attendant reporting obligations to receive state incentives; offer incentives to improve EV charger reliability; and assess publicly funded EV charging stations performance through “uptime.” Uptime is defined as the period of time when an EV charger’s hardware and software is operational and the EV charger is dispensing electricity. Uptime will exclude inoperability caused by events outside of an electric vehicle charger operator’s control, including issues relating to the electrical grid, force majeure, third-party damage, power outage, supply chain disruptions, vandalism, and internet and cellular connectivity.

A.01122 / S.00110 requires commercial garages to give public access to their EV chargers (if publicly funded, including tax incentives or utility-sponsored rebates) at commercially reasonable rates without having to pay for parking. “Commercial garage” is defined as: open to the public without regard to the motor vehicle owner or operator’s residence, business or employment; and includes facilities where motor vehicles are parked, but also serviced and repaired. 

A.05687 / S.05253-A requires NYSERDA to develop a webpage and app with information regarding publicly available EV chargers. NYSERDA already has an Electric Vehicle Station Locator webpage (that can also be accessed via mobile app) with up-to-date information including the name of the charging host, address, telephone number, level of charger (level 2 or level 3 fast chargers), number of ports, and hours of accessibility. However, A.05687 / S.05253-A requires that in addition to the information above, NYSERDA provide: whether the charging station is located on a street, parking lot or parking garage; whether the charger is in use or out of service; and the fee, if any, required to use the charging station or to access the lot where the charging station is located.

If approved by the Governor, these four bills will add to a growing framework of EV infrastructure laws and regulations. While significant government funding is available for the EV transition, charging infrastructure investors must carefully watch the regulatory landscape to not jeopardize access to these funds. 

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