Con Edison RFI Puts New York City on Track for EV Charging

At the 2017 New York International Auto Show this month, there were plenty of clean cars on display – from the all-electric Chevy Bolt, to the Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid, to the Cadillac CT6 Plug-In, to the Chrysler Pacific Hybrid – but if you were looking for an EV charger in the Big Apple,  you might have had a harder time: In fact, based on a study published in 2016 by The Electricity Journal, New York City comes in behind Portland, Oregon, the District of Columbia, and Baltimore, when it comes to charging infrastructure.

However, all that is about to change now that regional utility Consolidated Edison has announced plans to invest up to $25 million on demonstration projects that would test strategies for increasing the number of electric vehicles (EVs) in the region by making charging convenient and practical.

On April 20, Con Ed put out a call for partners willing to work on charging projects (read the company’s Request for Information) – among them, the following:

  • Planning vehicle charging networks. Con Edison is looking for a partner with expertise in projecting demand for charging and choosing the right locations for drivers and the electrical grid.
  • Charging city buses. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is planning trials of electric buses. Con Edison is interested in smart technology that manages charger use to determine which buses to charge and when. The company wants to learn whether it and the MTA can manage the charging so as to minimize new grid investment.
  • Charging school buses. Bus operators would get electric buses at reduced prices and turn them over to Con Edison to use as grid batteries during the summer months.

Indeed, Con Edison wants to place at least 100 publicly available electric vehicle charging stations on the streets of New York and 500 chargers in customers’ homes in test programs.

The utility also is seeking to deploy publicly available fast chargers that can charge a car in approximately 30 minutes or less. Additional quick charging could speed up the electrification of taxis, passenger cars, and delivery vehicles. For such a fast-charging project, Con Ed would consider many options, including owning the charging lot and leasing space to the charging companies.

For the curbside chargers, the company is seeking partners who have ideas as to how to deploy 208-volt chargers in New York City’s unique environment. These chargers would be the first on the city’s streets and begin to serve the many New Yorkers who do not have dedicated parking.

The goal of a home charging project would be to determine whether it is possible to incent drivers to charge at times when the demand for power is not at its highest.

 

“We expect to see many more electric vehicles on the streets the next few years,” said Craig Ivey, president of Con Edison. “We think we have a big role to play in making this change smooth for drivers and our customers who rely on us for reliable, affordable power. Count us in for sharing the unique expertise we have as the energy provider in New York City and Westchester County.”

Con Edison is coordinating with the City of New York through the Department of Transportation, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability.

“Avoiding the worst impacts of climate change requires a transformation in energy use across sectors,” said Daniel Zarrilli, senior director for Climate Policy & Programs and Chief Resilience Officer for the Mayor’s Office. “Today’s announcement demonstrates the shared commitment of Con Edison and the City to reducing our carbon footprint from vehicles, and puts us farther along on the path to creating a more just, resilient, and sustainable city.”

“Expanding access to charging stations is a key strategy to increasing the number of electric vehicles in New York City and meeting Mayor [Bill] de Blasio’s goal of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050,” said Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.

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