Standing in the parking lot of Whole Foods in Gowanus flanked by electric vehicles, the mayor said the city will partner with Con Edison to develop at least one charging hub per borough by the end of 2018. Each hub will have 20 charging stations.
The new initiative is part of the city’s commitment to establish 50 fast-charging hubs citywide by 2020. Each hub will have anywhere between four and 20 stations, depending on the need.
The goal is for 20 percent of the city’s cars to be electric by 2025.
According to the mayor, two years ago, less than 1 percent of cars were electric. He said he sees electric cars as “an important part of the solution” to reduce greenhouse emissions.
“Electric vehicles are game changers,” de Blasio said. “It’s striking how much better they are.”
After recent hurricanes battered Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, the mayor said the catastrophes were a result of climate change, which he called “an existential threat.” Last week, the mayor also announced a plan to mandate cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from buildings.
Adding more electric cars on the road is part of the city’s plan to reduce greenhouse emissions 80 percent by 2050.
The mayor said there are electric car models that now go for less than $30,000, and the price will continue to drop.
“The easier we make it for electric vehicles, the more manufacturers will build and the more the price will go down,” de Blasio said.
He encouraged drivers thinking about purchasing a new car to recognize that “the future is electric.”
“It’s a smart move for your family, for your bottom line, and it’s a great, great move for the environment,” he said.
“The goal is to reduce emissions, the goal is to save the earth and to make electric vehicles more viable for more New Yorkers,” he added. “We do not aim to have more cars on our streets. We want that those people who must have a car and make that choice, more and more turn to electric.”
Currently, there are 307 publicly available charging sites citywide. However, only 16 stations are considered fast charging, which take 30 minutes to charge a car. Slow-charging stations take up to eight hours.
Michael Chan, an electric car owner, said he used to own hybrid cars but realized they were still “gasoline-fed machines that pollute the air we breathe.” He bought two electric cars in April.
However, Chan only found three charging locations, and often had to wait to use them.
“I usually have to charge in the middle of the night after I put the baby to sleep and my chores are done,” he said. “Although it’s free, it’s a major pain to charge at these stations.”
By 2018, that will change. According to the mayor, even the city fleet will be greener. The city has surpassed 1,000 electric vehicles in its fleet, and its goal is to have 2,000 electric cars by 2025.
De Blasio admitted that the SUV in his security detail is a hybrid, but he would “love to get it to electric.”
“That’s something we’ll have to decide with the NYPD,” he said.
Marcia Bystryn, president of New York League of Conservation Voters, said 30 percent of emissions come from the transportation sector, so this initiative will have an impact on air quality.
“We hope this effort will also spur additional private investment to help build out a truly robust set of charging stations,” she said.
Councilman Costa Constantinides, who chairs the Committee on Environmental Protection, said making it easier for residents to purchase electric cars is a big step.
“Residents can make their decisions based on their green values, not just on convenience or their pocketbook,” Constantinides said.