New 1st-in-Nation Electric Vehicle Charging Report Shows High Usage & Reliability at Curbside Plugs Across NYC

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NYC DOT releases nation’s first evaluation report on curbside electric vehicle charging, examining first 18 months of City’s pilot program

Nearly 50,000 charging sessions recorded, with utilization rates growing steadily over course of pilot

Charging infrastructure has been remarkably reliable, with charger uptime at 99.9%

NEW YORK — New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez today announced new data on the city’s curbside Level 2 electric vehicle (EV) charging pilot, showing high usage and reliability at plugs across the city in what is the nation’s first-ever evaluation report on such a program. The report shows the number of charging sessions grew steadily month to month as new chargers were brought into service, more than doubling between January 2021 and December 2022, and that the 100 chargers installed under the pilot remained remarkably resilient, remaining in operation 99.9% of the time. The program’s utilization and reliability has exceeded the agency’s expectations and the data collected in the report will help inform policies around the placement of future curbside charging infrastructure as part of the administration’s PlaNYC commitment to accelerate the adoption of EVs.

“This first-in-the-nation study shows that the demand for electric vehicles is real, and the transition is possible,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “Our administration is meeting New Yorkers where they are with electric vehicle chargers, because the climate crisis is urgent and the time for action is now. With this and other steps outlined in our ‘Getting Sustainability Done’ plan, we are delivering a greener, cleaner, more prosperous future for our children and grandchildren.”

“The data is clear: New Yorkers love curbside Level 2 EV charging and our equitable distribution of infrastructure brought promising usage across communities. Our chargers have proven to be reliable and resilient, with solid uptake across the city in neighborhoods like Jackson Heights, Norwood, and Sunset Park,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “As we work to reduce New Yorkers’ car dependency, we must make sure that the remaining vehicle trips are taken with the lowest impact to the environment as possible.”

“Providing charging options that are convenient and accessible to diverse neighborhoods is critical to the transition to electric vehicles,” said Raghu Sudhakara, vice president of Distributed Resource Integration at Con Edison. “We are pleased that the data produced by this project will help optimize future efforts to make the transition from internal combustion engines, easier, faster, and more cost effective.”

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“With an operational uptime of more than 99% and a presence in all five boroughs, these FLO curbside chargers are available when and where NYC EV drivers need them,” said Louis Tremblay, president and CEO of FLO. “FLO is proud that our curbside chargers are bringing access to EV charging to more and more drivers and we look forward to advancing our work with our partners at the NYC DOT and Con Edison as NYC’s transition to a cleaner transportation future continues.”

During the pilot evaluation period, between July 2021 and December 2022, DOT recorded 49,250 charging sessions among 7,200 unique users at its curbside Level 2 chargers. Those chargers racked up 179,270 total charging hours, with the median session length lasting just over three hours. System uptime, or the share of time chargers remained in operation, was perfect or near-perfect every month, at 99.9%.

The utilization rate is defined as the percentage of time the charger was plugged into an EV. DOT recorded an overall utilization rate of 34% in December 2022, more than doubling from the roughly 14% utilization rate in January of that year.

Looking forward

Curbside Level 2 charging is one piece of NYC’s broader EV strategy, articulated in PlaNYC: Getting Sustainability Done. This strategy also includes investing and partnering to ensure that every New Yorker lives within 2.5 miles of an EV fast charger, creating shared electric truck charging depots, transitioning taxis and for-hire vehicles to electric vehicles, supporting a requirement for private parking garages and lots to make EV charging available, and studying and piloting the East Coast’s first low-emission zone centered on environmental justice through incentives and other methods.

DOT is installing fast chargers and Level 2 chargers in its facilities to make charging accessible to more New Yorkers. DOT and NYPA recently announced a joint agreement to create up to 13 electric vehicle fast-charging hubs at municipal parking facilities across the city. The agreement builds on the city’s commitment to install 1,100 Level 2 chargers in DOT’s publicly-accessible parking facilities citywide.

As DOT continues its curbside charging pilot, it will work with Con Edison and FLO to further assess how the program influences purchasing decisions and utilization patterns.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions

In the face of the mounting climate crisis, New York City is committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. After buildings, the transportation sector is the city’s second-largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, accounting for 28% of emissions, largely stemming from motor vehicles. NYC DOT is pursuing a multi-pronged strategy to reduce the carbon footprint of the transportation sector, including by dramatically increasing the proportion of trips that are made by transit, biking, and walking. For New Yorkers lacking access to mass transit or unable to travel by those modes, DOT is encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles.

One of the major hurdles to advancing EV ownership in New York City is the availability of charging. While the private sector will make most investments into EVs and related infrastructure, the City can play an important role in addressing market gaps, equity, and the electrification of high mileage fleets like taxis and FHVs.

How the curbside Level 2 charging pilot works

DOT is jointly administering a four-year pilot with Con Edison and FLO, which paid for and installed the 100 publicly accessible, custom-designed curbside Level 2 chargers. FLO operates the charging network and maintains the chargers. Each curbside unit has two chargers, allowing two vehicles to charge simultaneously, and features retractable cables with a counterweight mechanism that prevents the cables from obstructing the sidewalk when chargers are not in use.

As a part of the pilot, 50 public charging units were installed, providing 100 charge points. Users can initiate charging sessions using FLO’s mobile app (which is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store) or an RFID card. The cost to charge is $2.50 an hour during peak hours (6am-9pm) and $1.00 an hour overnight. Drivers pay these costs as long as the vehicle is plugged into the charger. This payment structure incentivizes drivers to charge overnight in order to reduce the strain on the local electrical grid. These units were installed and are operated by Con Edison.

“We know all too well that Queens has felt the negative impact of climate change, but there is hope for a better future thanks to environmentally-friendly technologies like EVs,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “We need do to all we can to support the use of EVs, so I am thrilled the city’s Level 2 curbside EV charging pilot program has been so successful so far. By thinking boldly and developing innovative solutions like EVs, we can achieve carbon neutrality and secure a brighter and healthier tomorrow.”

“To reduce the region’s reliance on fuel-burning cars and trucks and meet New York State and City’s ambitious climate goals, it is essential that we upgrade our electric charging infrastructure,” said Tiffany-Ann Taylor, vice president, transportation, Regional Plan Association. “We are pleased to see NYC DOT has run a successful curbside charging pilot program and look forward to supporting a future program expansion. A fast, reliable charging process is needed to ensure the city’s valuable curb space remains as flexible as more residents use electric vehicles in the city and region.”

“The NYC DOT’s release of the nation’s first-ever report on level 2 curbside EV charging is proof positive that New York City’s approach to electrifying the transportation sector – consistent and well-informed growth, cutting-edge technology and, most important, increased access – is working,” said Alia Soomro, deputy director of New York City Policy for the New York League of Conservation Voters. “We applaud Mayor Adams and NYC DOT Commissioner Rodriguez for their commitment to sustainable transportation and for doing the hard work so other cities may follow suit.”

Itselectric public EV charging curbside. Image courtesy of itselectric.

Courtesy of NYC DOT.

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