Monday, September 10, 2018

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Third annual electric car expo jump starts environment

Ulster County was one of the first in the region to install public charging stations at key county facilities

KINGSTON – Ulster County’s third annual electric car expo had nearly two dozen futuristic vehicles on display behind the old courthouse in Uptown Kingston on Sunday. The expo, part of National Drive Electric Week, saw 329 events throughout North America in 2018, including a dozen in New York.

Poughkeepsie, Gardiner, New Paltz and Delmar joined Kingston this year, bringing the Hudson Valley region to five participating communities.

Amanda LaValle, the Ulster County environmental coordinator, said “the purpose is to increase the awareness of electric vehicles across the community.”

New car dealers, private owners, public vehicles, parked side-by-side for comparison, with their hoods up, allowing visitors from the nearby farmer’s market to peek inside the engine compartment. With few moving parts, inspecting the solid-state motors served as an archaic reminder to the soon-to-be bygone days of internal combustion.

Soon your clunky petroleum-powered gas-guzzler will be considered an antique, much like old hand-crank starter engines, and vintage ahooga horns.

Ulster County Executive Michael Hein can’t wait for that day to come. “Electric cars are growing in popularity; however, they are still considered new technology for many people,” Hein said.

“We’re seeing more models, and more options for people to choose from, when buying a car, and so there is an increasing market share of plug-in hybrid, and all-electric cars on the road today,” LaValle noted. “As the technology gets better, the prices come down, maybe the rebates and incentives get better, we’re definitely going to see more people driving electric.”

Currently a New York State rebate up to $2,000 and a federal tax credit up to $7,500 exists for new electric vehicle purchases.

Other benefits beside environmental friendliness, include cheaper fuel mileage, and easier engine maintenance.

Prices start in the mid-to-upper $30,000 range. Joseph Romano of Lia Honda was selling a 2018 Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, capable of 47 miles on electric, 343 miles with gasoline recharge, rating 101 miles per gallon overall, for $38,000.

Used electric cars are another affordable option. A couple from Ellenville sat parked at the permanent electric charging station, topping off their second-hand two-seat Mini, built by Mercedes, which they acquired from a New Jersey car dealer for just $3,800 on eBay.

Nearby, Steve Liebowitz, owner of Revolution Bicycles in Kingston, offered free test rides on various battery powered pedal assist bikes, priced at $2,600. A special coupon offered $200 off any new e-bike purchased at his shop.

“There are some awesome electric bikes,” LaValle said, for those who cannot afford an expensive electric car. “And a bus pass, which is really the best way to go. Electric vehicles are a great option when we think about greenhouse emissions, because in New York State, transportation is the largest sector of greenhouse gas emissions.”

 


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