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New York City to Install First Curbside Electric-Vehicle Charging Station

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New York City will install its first curbside electric-vehicle charging stations this year, part of an effort to address the dearth of charging options in the city.

The Department of Transportation said that by October it will install 100 charging ports for public use. Another 20 ports will serve the city’s fleet of electric vehicles.

City officials said the expansion of an electric-vehicle charging network would be essential to meeting its environmental goals, which include reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.

“If New York City is going to reduce and ultimately eliminate its carbon footprint, it’s critical that whatever cars exist in the city be electric,” NYC DOT Commissioner

Hank Gutman

said. He said the pilot program, which will run for four years, was a start.

“Our plan is to go big on this,” he said. “And we assume the private sector is going to step up and do its part.”

At present, New York’s charging capacity is limited for the nearly 15,000 electric vehicles registered in the city. About 1,400 level-2 charging plugs, which provide an 80% charge in four to eight hours, and 117 fast-charging plugs, which offer an 80% charge in 30 minutes to an hour, can be found across the city. The vast majority of those are in Manhattan parking garages, according to DOT officials.

The curbside charging stations will be level-2 ports.

Mr. Gutman, who drives a plug-in hybrid car, acknowledged that limited charging capacity has been an impediment to expanding electric-vehicle access for many people in the city, especially those who can’t afford private parking spots in garages. The percentage of cars registered in New York that are electric has increased by 50% in just the past year, according to the DOT, but that still represents a fraction of the total of vehicles on the road.

The first of the new charging stations has been installed in the Norwood section of the Bronx, where a demonstration is being held Thursday. The new city chargers will cost $2.50 per hour during the day and $1 per hour overnight. FLO, a charging network operator based in Quebec City, will manage the network under contract with

Consolidated Edison Inc.

The program is funded by a grant from the New York State Public Service Commission.

“This is putting chargers on the street and in the Bronx,” Mr. Gutman said. “It’s an opportunity to make electric driving available to all New Yorkers.”

He declined to go into detail about how many more charging stations the city planned to add beyond the 120. But Jamie McShane, a spokesman for Con Edison, said the company was investing $310 million by 2025 to fund more than 21,000 level-2 chargers and more than 525 fast chargers in New York City, as well as in Westchester, Orange and Rockland counties. The company expects the vast majority of those will be in New York City, Mr. McShane said, but the market will dictate the geographic locations.

Joseph Chow, a professor at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, said the city appeared to have the political will to expand electric-vehicle access, but questioned a decision this week to end a licensing provision for electric-vehicle taxis in Manhattan. “There had seemed to be momentum building with more electric taxis entering the market, but now they’re limiting that,” Mr. Chow said.

Mr. Gutman declined to comment on the Taxi and Limousine Commission decision. TLC Commissioner Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk said at a hearing Tuesday that continuing to exempt electric vehicles from a cap on for-hire vehicles on the road wasn’t sustainable in a traffic-clogged city.

New York had planned to start installing charging stations last year, but the Covid-19 pandemic delayed the rollout. Meanwhile, the private market has started to fill the gap. Revel, an electric-scooter and taxi company, said in February that it would open a supercharging station in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, that would have 30 stations open around the clock, capable of delivering 100 miles of charge to vehicles in about 20 minutes, the company said.

Tesla Inc.

offers supercharging facilities, which are capable of charging batteries to 80% of capacity in about 40 minutes, around the city for owners of its vehicles. Most other electric-vehicle owners have just a handful of fast-charging options around the city.

Write to Ian Lovett at [email protected]

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