(CHRISTOPHER PENMENTEL / THE STATESMAN)

This Stony Brook University Toyota Prius is one of several hybrid cars that can be charged at a station near the Research and Development park. (CHRISTOPHER PENMENTEL / THE STATESMAN)

By Jasmine Blennau and Chris Woods

Five electric vehicle charging stations have been operating in relative obscurity at Stony Brook University over the past three years, and according to the Director of Sustainability & Transportation Operations, James O’Connor, the university is looking to expand.

“We launched with four of them over at the Advanced Energy Center near the Research & Development Park about three years ago,” O’Connor said. “Depending on feedback from faculty staff, students and visitors, we’re going to look to potentially add more on campus.”

The stations currently are not easily available to students, but staff who are willing to travel to the south side of campus near R&D Park are able to charge up.

“They’re a little bit off the radar for students,” said O’Connor, adding that the Office of Sustainability has “recently started to expand the stations and bring them towards campus.”

“To date, the university has received a few inquiries for such stations in and near the Administration Parking Garage,” he said.

President Stanley received a plug-in vehicle and a plug-in charger located in the Admin Parking Garage, according to O’Connor.

Stony Brook’s interest in expanding the number of stations follows a similar push by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who announced in an April press release that “more than 360 electric vehicle (EV) and plug-in hybrid charging stations will be installed across the state in support of his Charge NY initiative.”

The funding from the initiative benefitted Stony Brook’s own Greater Long Island Clean Cities Coalition, a non-profit organization from the school’s Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center. The center received $200,000 to install 10 stations across Nassau and Suffolk counties.

“Building this network of innovative charging stations will encourage New Yorkers to use fuel-efficient alternatives like electric vehicles as well as grow the green industry and jobs in the state,” Governor Cuomo noted during the press release.

As another incentive, Long Island residents can receive a $500 rebate from the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) when purchasing plug-in hybrid electric vehicles or plug-in electric vehicles. In order to apply for this rebate, residents must submit the Rebate Application Form, which can be found on LIPA’s website.

The electric car community is currently connected by websites dedicated to informing drivers of charging station locations and types of chargers available.

According to electric-car support site www.CarStations.com, the R&D Park stations include the most recent and efficient charger, the SAE J1772-2009 model, as well as the older and currently more popular NEMA AC model.

While all electric and hybrid cars run on electricity, they vary in battery efficiency, overall quality and the capacity to switch to other fuel types.

Some examples of electric or hybrid cars that can charge at the R&D Park stations are the Toyota Prius, Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt.

“You can write yourself up from a Tesla that’s very high-end, all the way down to a Prius or something to that effect,” O’Connor said. “Each car behaves a little bit differently in terms of the portion that uses its battery technology, which is typically zero emissions.”

O’Connor recognized that campus-wide or region-wide change is going to take time, but he remains dedicated to working toward the zero emission goal.