WRITTEN BY JORDAN DUNN | PHOTOS PROVIDED
THE ELECTRIC VEHICLE (EV) REVOLUTION...
Some have already embraced it… Others say it’ll never last.
No matter what your beliefs, for better or for worse, a change to the car industry is coming;
The question is - is our county ready for what’s next?
Saratoga and the greater Capital Region is used to tradition. Champions of small-town life, extreme loyalists to its summer traditions like the Saratoga Racetrack or strolls down picturesque Broadway: those that live there know what it means to live an “upstate lifestyle.” So how will a radical change like the introduction of Electric Vehicles to our world’s society alter the traditionalists of Saratoga County? Saratoga Business Report spoke with a few local entities to discuss the realities of EV and the presence that EV will have both in our world, and in our local community in the years to come.
TODD BAILEY - CHAMPION OF CARS, PROPONENT OF CHANGE
Todd Bailey, owner of Todd Bailey Photo, Video and Marketing, had more than a few words to say on the topic. A lifelong local of the greater capital region and upstate New York, Bailey is a multimedia expert by day, but in his free time, he is a car enthusiast and member of the local Charity Motor Club.
In recent years, Bailey has joined a partnership of businesses and friends to spearhead a company they will be calling, RECharge. Focusing on end-to-end EV Charging Services at commercial spaces on the West Coast, the company hopes to be able to “bring the ability for EV to those markets and beyond. “In short, we hope to change EV from something for the few, to something for the many’’ said Bailey. While still in the development stages, the company is expecting some promising results for the world of EV, and their charging stations, in the years to come.
So, what does an EV charging company focused in California have to do with Saratoga County? Simple, what happens in the big cities has a way of eventually impacting small ones down the line. When asked whether or not the Capital Region was ready for the potential changes, Bailey stated “Right now, I think we can adequately accommodate. In the years to come, I’m not so sure. If the EV production ramps up quickly, and charging stations are not implemented, we will not have enough power available to sustain them.”
Bailey went on to describe how “a lot of EV manufacturing companies are willing to fund charging station implementation projects almost in full right now. What counties like Saratoga need in parallel, is to not only get on board with the adoption of these technologies, but to make realistic plans for the actual implementation of the charging stations.”
Bailey has a strong point. Though EV has a presence here right now, EV technology is still developing. Charging stations can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours depending on the type of charger, and they are usually few and far between when it comes to locations in Upstate New York. But with every passing day, “new and progressive developments are being made. So when the technology evolves, the real question becomes will electric companies be not only ready, but willing to figure out how to keep up with these new developments and rising consumption demands?”
READY TO INSTALL? MAYBE NOT QUITE YET...
With over 20 years of experience in the automotive industry in the Capital District and 3 years of experience in the Electric Charging Business, Steven Coons, General Manager, Partner and VP of Sales at Livingston Energy Group has seen a thing or two when it comes to this sector. “Personally? I think EV’s are going to be a positive thing. Though we have a long way to go when it comes to technology, those changes are happening daily and will continue to do so as we press for ways to lower our carbon footprint, preserve natural resources, and reduce greenhouse gases. Overall, I think they are really going to have a place/role in preservation efforts for the environment” said Coons.
However, as often happens with young technology, there stands to be some downsides when it comes to its implementation. When asked about the viability for Saratoga County to be able to handle what’s coming, Coon said simply, “No, there isn’t enough infrastructure to accommodate the influx that’s coming”. Coons, who has installed over 1000 chargers and infrastructure elements throughout NY in multiple utility areas, said that for this to change, their needs to be ‘better community education” surrounding EV’s and their potential impacts. There also needs to be an understanding that one can “support the growth of EV’s” while still vocalizing a need for technology to be more developed before a “mass adoption” can successfully happen. Coons wished to leave readers with the idea that “Overall, taking the proper steps in lowering our carbon footprint needs to be driven by technology, education and making it affordable for all. Providing the infrastructure and hardware to charge EVs is the foundation in this fast changing environment.”
Similar sentiments were shared by Ralph Mangino of Mangino Buick GMC and Mangino Chevrolet. “I think EV’s are really a positive thing. In general, if you drive one, it kind of speaks for itself; they are quiet, have good pick up, and they’re young; they will only get better from here. The only problem I can foresee is infrastructure.” said Mangino. Like Bailey and Coons, Mangino predicts that in the coming years the true problem communities will face is designing and implementing the right infrastructure so that EVs are a viable reality in all types of areas.
Curious about our region specifically, we asked Mangino how he thought Saratoga County would react to the coming changes. Mangino, who spent his entire career in the automotive industry, was quick to say “change is inevitable. Whether people like it or not this is the way that factories are steering - hard.”
Mangino’s best advice to skeptics of the advancing new tech was “before people judge, they need to get in and drive one. People have a lot of preconceived notions that don’t necessarily match up to reality. I often ask my customers to take a step back and take a moment to realistically analyze how much driving they do in a day. Overall, it’s usually just a common case of the fear of the unknown right now.” Yet, sometimes, the best way to conquer the fear of the unknown is to just take the plunge, which is exactly what consumers can do at Mangino Buick GMC. As a manufacturer, General Motors has publicly stated that everything they produce will be EV by 2030. Seeing this, and embracing it, the Mangino family has opened their doors to welcome this “new reality”.
“Hummer will be the first to have an EV on our Ballston Spa lot. We’ve already had EV’s on our Amsterdam lot for a few years because of the introduction of the Chevy Bolt, so this isn’t anything new to us. We just have to get ready and keep being receptive and proactive because this is the way of the future.” said Mangino.