Tesla alleges that it’s being discriminated against by the New York state government’s electric vehicle charging cash incentive program. In their march to encourage the transition to clean energy transportation in the consumer market, the state’s Department of Public Service has issued an Order which provides monetary supplements to companies installing publicly accessible EV charging stations. However, the money is only available if both a Combined Charging System (CCS) plug and a CHAdeMo plug are included, not the proprietary charger used by Tesla vehicles. Per the Order:
“Tesla uses its own standard…which the Commission does not recognize as publicly accessible for purposes of this incentive program…Tesla DCFC [direct-current fast charging] stations will become eligible for this per-plug incentive where their proprietary technology is coupled with plug types that enables use by EVs with Asian and European charging systems.”
Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo entered into a “Memorandum of Understanding” with other like-minded governors to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions in October 2013. Specifically, the plan aims to reduce emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. Part of that initiative includes creating incentives for EV purchases via “Zero-Emission Vehicle” (ZEV) programs to quantify to 800,000 to 1 million ZEVs on state roads by 2025.
Tesla and other EV manufacturers participated in a hearing prior to the Order which resulted in a Consensus Proposal wherein the government and the companies agreed to the conditions of the program. In that Consensus, however, “publicly accessible” was defined as stations available without physical limitations (i.e., exclusive locations) or membership requirements for use. The later-issued Order implementing the program redefined the term “publicly accessible” to include specific types of technology, ultimately excluding Tesla’s proprietary chargers.
Tesla objects to this and has since filed a Petition for Rehearing arguing against the state’s overreach. Per the Petition:
“…without providing any notice of intent to adopt an alternative definition to that set forth in the Consensus Proposal, and without any reasonable record support or rational basis…the Order’s novel definition of ‘publicly accessible’ is unlawful and arbitrary and capricious since it is devoid of record support, lacking a rational basis, and discriminatory.”
The cash incentive program is set to last seven years (2019-2025) and not to exceed 1,074 total stations and/or $28 million dollars provided to participants. To qualify, stations must have charging capability of at least 50 kW, a higher cash incentive being offered for rates over 75 kW. The cash incentive amounts range by regional provider and, according to the Order establishing the charger program, the variance is between $4,000 and $17,000 for the 75 kW stations. With each passing year, the cash incentive amount declines significantly, thus rewarding early birds.
Despite Tesla being the top-selling EV in the country, New York is using its money to vote in favor of a public charging standard, leaving proprietary versions at a disadvantage. Perhaps this wouldn’t seem unusual if Tesla wasn’t arguably the (market-driven) reason New York can dream of such an EV-centered future.
New York has a lot to gain as Tesla continues to bring parity to efficient fueling of electric cars with conventional gas-powered vehicles, especially with the release of its newest 1,000 mi/hr Supercharger V3.