Alex Goldmark is a senior producer in the newsroom for New Tech City and Transportation Nation.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to add 10,000 public parking spots for electric vehicles over the next seven years.
According to prepared remarks for his 12th and final State of the City address Thursday, the Mayor says:
“This year we’ll pilot curbside vehicle chargers that will allow drivers to fill up their battery in as little as 30 minutes. We’ll work with the City Council to amend the Building Code so that up to 20 percent of all new public parking spaces will be wired and ready for electric vehicles."
The proposal would require that a fifth of new parking spaces to be charging stations for electric vehicles. Zoning laws in New York require the construction of new parking spaces along with new building construction, usually in the form of parking garages under or next to the building. According to the mayor's office, about 10,000 new parking spaces are added each year in this way.
The City currently has 100 public charging stations and 120 for the city's own fleet of EVs. Thirty more government stations would be added under this proposal.
Building public charging stations however is no easy task. As experience in other cities has shown, building codes, utility cooperation and construction permitting can all slow or impede installation of EV charging stations on public streets.
Private companies began installing public charging stations in New York City in 2010. According to a New York state initiative last year, there were about 400 charging stations set to be live by April 2013. San Francisco city government offered free charging in about 20 public garages at one point. Houston has built, or plans to build about 50 charging stations.
Under the mayor's NYC proposal the city would also initiate testing of curbside charging with two chargers that can fill batteries in as little as 30 minutes, rather than the standard eight hours. One would be in Seward Park, a middle class apartment development and park on Manhattan's Lower East Side.
The second station will be just for electric taxis, located at the ConEdison Building. This year six all-electric Nissan Leaf taxis will join the more than 13,000 yellow cabs already on the road. The winning model for the Taxi of Tomorrow, also by Nissan, is designed to enable retrofitting run as an electric vehicle if testing shows that's workable and preferable.
The mayor is also expected to announce that the city will add 50 new battery electric cars to New York's municipal fleet, which already includes 458 plug-in electric cars, the third largest EV fleet in the country after the federal government and General Electric.
According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles: as of December 2012, there are 2,069 electric vehicles registered in the five boroughs of New York CIty. The breakdown by county: 10 in Richmond (Staten Island); 80 in Queens; 753 in New York (Manhattan); 413 in Kings (Brooklyn) and 813 in the Bronx.