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An electrifying idea

ShopRite hosts charging stations for electric cars, but few are on road

Chris Gardner, attorney for Schenectady County and a Niskayuna resident, plugs in his electric car at the charging stations installed at ShopRite in Niskayuna. The charging stations are free to use.

Chris Gardner, attorney for Schenectady County and a Niskayuna resident, plugs in his electric car at the charging stations installed at ShopRite in Niskayuna. The charging stations are free to use. Photo by John Purcell.

— One of the distinguishing features about the new ShopRite in Niskayuna has nothing to do with what’s inside the store, but with what’s outside in the parking lot.

There are four parking spots painted green near the entrance at ShopRite, but odds are most shoppers shouldn’t be parking there. These spaces are “reserved” for electric cars, but the two silver terminals looking like shrunken gas pumps are actually 240-volt charging stations. Located near the store entrance, the spots are in a prime location and the electricity flowing into an electric car is also provided for free.

Town officials had requested an effort be made to include such parking spots, which now are the first being offered in Schenectady County.

Niskayuna officials said the charging stations fall in line with green steps the town has taken recently.

“We asked ShopRite to do it for one big reason: It kind of is a continuation of all the things we are doing in the town in terms of sustainability and energy savings,” said Councilwoman Denise Murphy McGraw. “How could we have now what is one of the premier locations in our town not kind of be part of that agenda?”

“At a public place where you can shop … this is the first one that I have seen,” Supervisor Joe Landry said. “We are very happy also that GE participated.”

Shannon DeFreese of ShopRite said it was nice to be a part of something important to the community.

“It is part of ShopRite’s go green initiative. As well, we are trying to incorporate that into the reusable bag program and the composter we have in the back,” said DeFreese.

There are two outlets on each charging station, allowing for two separate cars to charge from the same unit. The stations do have directions listed on them saying to use a credit card to pay for the service, but ShopRite doesn’t plan on charging shoppers and will eat any electric costs.

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