Today’s Solutions: October 24, 2021

Electric vehicles aren’t a common sight on the streets of New York City. In fact, this fast-paced city seems to have finally slept on EV adoption. It lags behind Los Angeles, a city that boasts four times as many registered EVs and around eight times more chargers—but NYC plans to turn this around.

As part of an effort to slash carbon emissions, The Big Apple plans to build one of the most expansive electric vehicle (EV) charging networks in the country.

Last week, the Mayor’s office announced the Electrifying New York plan, which will see 400,000 EVs registered in the city by 2030, a huge jump from the current 15,000.

To see this plan through, the city must build a charging network of 40,000 curbside chargers (right now there are only 1,400), and 6,000 DC Fast Chargers (up from the current 117), in less than a decade.

“With the climate crisis upon us, it’s time to plan bigger about how New York City can dramatically accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles,” says New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Hank Gutman. “With major federal investments in EV charging on the horizon, our plan lays the groundwork for a network of tens of thousands of public EV chargers equitably distributed across the city, enabling many more car owners to go electric.”

This isn’t just true of New York—expanding the charging network is essential for EV adoption to be successful in the US. The Biden administration hopes to accomplish a five-fold increase in the number of public EV chargers across the nation. That means a whopping 500,000 public chargers total.

The expectation is for the federal government to set aside billions of dollars for EV charging infrastructure, and in a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, New York City officials emphasized the city’s need for federal funding if they want to successfully build a sprawling charging network.

The city also wants to leverage federal funds to push forward private investment in EV chargers, as most of the charging infrastructure will be implemented by companies that would end up profiting by charging drivers for electricity.

According to experts, the entire nation needs to see a 10-fold increase in the number of charging ports before EVs become mainstream, however, the rollout of new chargers is lagging behind because sales of electric cars aren’t growing fast enough.

The pandemic saw a peak in car sales last year, as people started avoiding public transportation, but New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio urged New Yorkers to opt for cleaner transportation.

“My advice to New Yorkers is, do not buy a car. Cars are the past. The future is going to be mass transit, biking, walking, and there are so many options right now. And there’ll be more and more as we go forward. I’m never going to own a car again,” de Blasio declared.

De Blasio’s administration wants to encourage walking, mass transit, and biking in order to boost their share of total trips from 66 percent to 80 percent. On top of the EV charging network, the city has plans to build more pedestrian-friendly streets, expand existing bus and bike lane networks, and support initiatives like Open Streets.

These changes will help the city reduce transportation emissions by 85 percent by the year 2050.

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