New York City recently took its first step in developing a public infrastructure for electric vehicles (EVs) as officials from the Department of Transportation (DOT), Consolidated Edison (Con Ed) and Flo Energy unveiled a new EV pilot program and the first of 100 charging stations to be installed across the five boroughs between now and October.
A press conference announcing the milestone was held on Thursday, June 24, at the southeastern corner of Putnam Place and East Gun Hill Road in Norwood, where the new state-of-the-art, curbside EV charging port is now located. Two customers at a time can charge their vehicles at Putnam Place while four vehicles can charge up at the newly installed charging station at 5935 Broadway in Riverdale.
DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman told invited guests, “Welcome to a beautiful and historical day here in the Bronx. The survival of our city and indeed our entire planet depends upon our ability to reduce our carbon footprint and to do it now. This is why the [De Blasio] administration is so focused on promoting bikes, buses, mass transit and other alternatives to the use of a private vehicle.”
Gutman continued, “It doesn’t take up excessive sidewalk, it doesn’t interfere with any of the other uses that we make of the City streets and sidewalks, well designed, well executed, and we’re looking forward to having the next, I guess, 99 installed, and seeing how the public enjoys using [them].”
According to Gutman, the pilot program will consist of 100 “Level 2” charging stations which will be located in 20 neighborhoods across the five boroughs by EV owners, and an additional 20 charging stations that will be built for New York City’s own fleet of vehicles.
Ben Furnas, director of the Mayor’s Office of Climate and Sustainability, told those in attendance, “In the fight against climate change, and for cities, action on climate means transforming our streets to support walking and biking and transit, and it also means making sure that every car on the road is an electric.” Furnas added, “Con Ed and DOT are doing just that, from bike lanes to bus lanes to open streets.”
Meanwhile, Lenny Singh, senior VP of Con Edison’s Customer Energy Solution unit, said, “Curbside charging makes adopting EVs more convenient for our customers. Not having to run a drop-cord three stories down certainly is convenient.”
He added, “It makes EV ownership even easier, especially [for] those who live in apartment buildings like the ones we’re standing next to today and those without access to their own charging stations.”
According to Singh, the long-term plan is to install 21,000 Level 2 charging stations and 525 “fast chargers” across the city. Singh added that Con Edison was investing $1.5 billion in three transmission projects that will deliver renewable energy that will eventually charge the EV charging stations from offshore wind turbines.
Singh concluded, “The future of the energy supply in New York is renewables, things like offshore wind and solar. EVs will increasingly be charged by those renewable sources and we’re ensuring that our grid and the grid of New York City is equipped for that transition.” According to City officials, the goal is for New York to be powered by 100 percent renewable energy by 2040.
Charles Miller, an Allerton resident and the proud owner of a 2012 Nissan Leaf EV, was delighted with the new charging station as it means he no longer has to pay for a parking space outside his apartment building and run several extension cords out his third floor window in order to charge his car.
As he charged his car at the new station, Miller described the advantages of the new charging stations, saying if his battery was low, he could stop in the neighborhood, park, charge the car and maybe visit the Oval Park or do some shopping and then come back in an hour and have 25 miles of additional mileage on the clock.
“If you’re in this area, it’s going to give you about an hour to chill.” He added that the new chargers were going to be convenient in the sense that no EV owner would be left stranded due to not being able to charge up. “That’s the best part about it,” he said.
A one-hour charge will cost $2.50 for more than 6 kilowatt hours, and an EV will cover about 25 miles from that charge.