Eco-Living Magazine

NYC Mayor Wants 10,000 New Electric Charging Stations

Posted on the 28 February 2013 by 2ndgreenrevolution @2ndgreenrev

EV Charging Port

In his 12th and final State of the City address, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called for a major expansion of the city’s electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. Specifically, he said he would “work with City Council to amend the Building code so that up to 20 percent of all new public parking spaces in private developments will be wired and ready for electric vehicles, creating up to 10,000 parking spots for EVs over the next seven years.” Is it just me, or does 10,000 electrified parking spaces for EVs seem like a lot?

If carried out in full, the proposal would increase the City’s current EV charging stations by a factor of 100. Opponents, like Robert Bryce, argue that mandating charging infrastructure on this scale is financially irresponsible, premature, and will only benefit the wealthy. To me, those are fair concerns. According to a report cited by Bryce and others, most households with EVs make over $200,000. Based on general estimates from another Deloitte Consulting report, the 10,000 new charging stations would cost between $5 million and $30 million (assuming 240-volts). And, unless the charging stations and other market forces greatly increase the number of EVs registered in New York City’s five boroughs (currently 2,069), EV parking spots could greatly outnumber the vehicles to fill them. On top of all this is a cloudy outlook for EVs, which has prompted Nissan’s strategic shift away from pure electric to hybrid vehicles.

So far, Bloomberg’s push for 10,000 new charging stations seems utterly disconnected from reality. But, is it? The phrase, “up to” appears twice in his speech regarding the number of charging stations that will be installed.  It’s easy to overlook, but this phrasing would seem to indicate that the number of installed units is flexible, and ostensibly based on local EV market trends. In addition (as Eric Wilson pointed out), the potential for electric taxis combined with the hugely expensive real estate occupied by gas stations play to the strengths of compact EV chargers.

The big question is whether a reasonable surplus of charging stations can foster local growth in electric vehicles. I’m inclined to say yes, but only time will tell by how much.

Image by MIKI Yoshihito.
Posted to Flickr as EV Quick Charging Point for Nissan LEAF

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