New York Mobility and Transportation (Q4 2018)

- Vishant Kothari, AEG Fellow

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a $5 million grant for rebates on electric charges in New York City in September. He said, "By expanding public access to electric vehicle charging stations, this program will make it more affordable for New Yorkers to make the switch to an environmentally friendly electric vehicle…” This is part of a much larger effort led by multiple government agencies as part of Governor Charge NY 2.0.

Reforming the Energy Vision(REV) seeks to reduce New York’s statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 to achieve the internationally recognized 80 percent reduction target of emissions by 2050. As part of REV, Governor Cuomo announced Governor Charge NY in 2013, which was the first interagency initiative to accelerate adoption of electric vehicles (EVs.) Recently, the Governor announced Governor Charge NY 2.0 which aims to install 10,000 charging stations by 2021. While the entire program is administered by NYSERDA, one of the biggest initiatives under Governor Charge NY 2.0 is EVolveNY, which is led by NYPA. Through this, NYPA has committed to investing $250 million through 2025. They will partner with private sector stakeholders on initiatives that address key infrastructure and market gaps to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles (EV’s) throughout the state. The initial phase of funding directs $40 million through the end of 2019 into three new initiatives: Interstate Fast Chargers (DCFC), Airport Charging Hubs (in partnership with the NY/NJ Port Authority), and EV Model Communities.

Substantial investments are going into deployment of EV chargers. As reported by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, availability of charging infrastructure is critical in the deployment of electric buses. The risk of large scale deployment of buses with limited EV charging infrastructure is too high for cities to take on directly, however. While there are substantial investments (as described above) into building this charging infrastructure, the federal government recently granted $264 million to cities to support improvement of their bus systems; a bulk of this funding is for increasing roll-out of electric bus. Battery-electric buses have noticeable environmental benefits over diesel and natural gas buses in the form of fewer greenhouse gas emissions, even when taking into consideration the electricity generated to operate and charge the buses, as profiled in a study by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Advances in research and development on electric vehicle batteries will bring new uses for spent batteries as well as better recycling options. Developments in this technology in New York include Columbia University launching a fleet of electric buses to replace the existing diesel-powered buses on its campus shuttle network. They are among the first electric buses to be introduced in the city.

The potential deployment of autonomous vehicles is also influencing New York’s transportation landscape. While the industry waits for 5G to unlock autonomous vehicles, the DMV has already begun showing its support and indeed its acceptance, by inviting demonstration project applications for autonomous vehicle testing until March, 2019. Smart Battery technology is being piloted by MTA, in partnership with ABB Group, on select subway trains to help reduce peak loads. Con Edison recently increased the rewards for its Smart Electric Vehicle Program to incentivize off peak charging.

Mobility and Transportation sectors are poised for a transition as they move towards greater electrification, over fossil fuels. The implications of this are profound for industry leaders, policy makers, startups, residents, and grid operators.

Drop by NYAE’s Q4 Breakfast event on November 29th 2018, to learn about emerging opportunities, build partnerships, and overcome challenges. We will be joined by the following discussion leaders, and 60+ stakeholders from across the ecosystem, at the event:

  • Director, Strategic Initiatives, MTA HQ

  • John Shipman - Department Manager Electric Vehicle Programs, Con Edison

  • Christine Weydig - Director, Office of Environmental and Energy Programs, NY/NJ Port Authority

  • Margaret Mann, Team Lead,Transportation and Infrastructure, NREL

  • Robyn Marquis, Program Manager, Clean Transportation, NYSERDA

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