NYC Is One of the Worst Cities for Electric Cars. Here’s How It Plans to Change That.

Curbside charging stations are a new sight

A Tesla charging
Covered Tesla Car plugged in and charging in driveway, Forest Hills, Queens, New York.
UCG/Universal Images Group via G

In the last few weeks, I’ve seen something I’d never seen before on the streets of New York: an electric car using a curbside charger to refill its battery. I’ve seen it multiple times, in fact — but the fact that this is still a relatively rare sight in a city that’s generally known for forward-thinking transportation policies is a little head-spinning.

A recent New York Times article by Ginia Bellafante on electric vehicles in New York City cited a StorageCafe study on cities and electric vehicles, to sobering effect. “In one analysis that ranked 100 metropolitan areas in the United States according to the accommodations in place for electric car culture to thrive, New York ranked 93,” Bellafante wrote.

As the city’s own Department of Transportation points out on its website, increasing the number of electric vehicles in New York City is valuable for a number of reasons, not the least of which has to do with the amount of emissions gas-powered vehicles produce — which is said to make up 30% of the city’s total emissions.

Late last year, the city DOT announced a plan to “grow and create one of the largest municipal EV charging networks in the country.” Part of that goal involves getting the city’s car owners to embrace electric vehicles — and having a widely available charging infrastructure is key to that. The DOT plan released in 2021 includes ambitious goals, such as adding charging stations in curbside locations and in municipal parking lots.

Ydanis Rodríguez, New York City’s current DOT commissioner, has been a longstanding supporter of increased electric vehicles, and sounded optimistic when quoted in the Times article about getting more New Yorkers to buy electric vehicles. Will the increased infrastructure be enough to make a difference? The coming years will speak volumes.

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