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USA: Syracuse’s little-used electric car chargers being replaced after just months


Kedrick Moore, working for Synapse Sustainability Trust, disassembles a 1-year-old electric car charging unit on Washington Street in Syracuse. Synapse obtained a $700,000 grant to install 68 of the chargers throughout Central New York. But it says a manufacturer supplied it with the wrong type. Synapse officials say they are replacing the chargers with new units at no cost to taxpayers.

Syracuse, N.Y. — A Syracuse nonprofit got a $700,000 government grant last year to buy and install 68 electric car charging units around Central New York.
But this week, Synapse Sustainability Trust ripped the last of the chargers out of a downtown Syracuse parking lot.
Synapse Sustainability says it is replacing them — at no cost to taxpayers — because the manufacturer sold it the wrong type of charging units.
The goof-up will have little impact on the public. After all, there are only 30 electric or electric hybrid cars in five counties surrounding Syracuse. There are more charging units than there are cars that can use them.
But it is an embarrassment for politically connected Synapse and its affiliated for-profit businesses as they try to carve out a niche in the alternative fuel marketplace.
“We’re replacing all the units,” said Eckardt “Chris” Beck, a partner at Synapse Partners LLC and its nonprofit arm, Synapse Sustainability Trust. “It’s not a happy thing. But it’s the right thing.”
The mix-up has prompted Synapse to file a $6 million lawsuit against ECOtality, the maker of the “Blink” charging stations, according to legal papers filed in State Supreme Court in Onondaga County.
Synapse alleged the Blink chargers were supposed to track individuals’ usage and costs per user, but they don’t. Instead, Synapse has been stuck paying the electric bill.
ECOtality, a San Francisco-based company, denies any wrongdoing.
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