As a part of the EV Shared Mobility Project, the City of New York seeks to deployment of charging infrastructure to accelerate the electrification of the City’s expanding ride-hail industry. Multiple departments across the City including the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability (MOS), the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT), and the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) are collaborating to realize project goals. New York City is one of few cities to place a cap on the number of Transportation Network Company (TNC) driver licenses. TLC oversees the City’s licensing of TNC drivers and refers to TNCs as For-Hire Vehicle (FHVs), thus for the purposes of this case study, the term FHV will be used instead of TNC. Administering a licensing cap is one of the many ways New York City is leveraging its policies throughout the region to encourage EV adoption in the shared mobility sector. In addition to increasing access to public fast charging, New York is working with the Empire Clean Cities (ECC) to raise EV awareness in the FHV driver community. This case study will highlight lessons learned from the City’s adaptations to shifting conditions in the regional EV market and efforts to convene stakeholders in the space. It will also outline the collaboration with the electric utility Consolidated Edison (Con Edison) and the joint focus on expanding charging infrastructure at shared mobility hubs throughout the City.
New York City has been able to capitalize on citywide efforts to regulate the For-Hire Vehicle (FHV) sector and promote electrification to advance project goals. Several key successes so far include the following:
- Impact report published and EV FHV registration data shared by TLC.
- City completed contracts with the Empire Clean Cities (ECC) and EVgo.
- Coordinating with ECC to amplify existing awareness campaigns.
- Construction process initiated for first NYCDOT-owned and operated fast charging stations with vendor EV Connect.
New York City has faced numerous challenges throughout the course of the project, including a subrecipient pulling out of the project and delays due to contract sequencing. The City experienced some of the most severe cases and deaths amid the initial outbreak of COVID-19, which resulted in a significant shift in city resources. Some of the key challenges include the following:
- Withdrawal of Maven Gig as the vehicle provider due to their departure from several markets in 2019 and eventual shutdown in April 2020.
- Lengthy internal contracting delays due to the unconventional grant structure with sequencing requiring US Department of Energy (DOE) and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to have amended subrecipient agreements in place before NYC could proceed.
- Statewide shutdown due to COVID-19 outbreak pausing contracting and construction processes, which also impacted FHV drivers because of reduced ridership.
New York City has been able to address challenges related to contracting and has made tangible progress through the second quarter of 2020. Some key milestones include the following:
- ECC and EVgo contracts were approved and signed in March and April of 2020 respectively.
- Outreach partners are working to design campaigns and identify opportunities despite COVID-19 restrictions.
- Siting for EVgo charging stations underway.
- Utility site walkthroughs were completed in February and siting designs were completed for the first city-owned and operated fast charging stations at the Court Square parking garage.
- Collaborative data sharing agreement between Atlas, TLC, and NYCDOT finalized.
Direct Current (DC) Fast Charging site selection and securing site host agreements are the main focus areas for the City in the current phase of work. Permitting for construction experienced a two-and-a-half-month delay, but quickly commenced in early July when COVID-19 restrictions began to be lifted. The City is working with the charging service provider EVgo to identify potential site locations and establish the preferred number of chargers at each location that would balance both EVgo and the City’s interests. In total, the City plans to site and install 10 DC fast charging stations, with four being managed by NYCDOT and six being managed by EVgo.
In recognizing the growth of the FHV sector, New York City is leveraging the EV Shared Mobility project to test the impact of regulations on the adoption of EVs among FHV drivers. To encourage EV adoption among FHV drivers, the City will provide access to fast charging and promote EV awareness in addition to applying regulatory measures favoring EV FHV vehicles. Early regulatory efforts have already been enacted and the City will continue to engage different stakeholders to ensure that this effort contributes to electrification advancement and supports local and statewide clean transportation goals.
Source: EV Shared Mobility Dashboard
New York City’s density, transit infrastructure and congested streets pose both challenges and significant opportunities to promote shared electric mobility. Growth in FHV vehicle trips alone contributed to an increase of almost 1 billion in yearly vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in New York City between 2013 and 2017. While the City has the highest total deployment of charging infrastructure of the cities included in the EV Shared Mobility project, the deployment is the lowest on a per person basis.
This infrastructure shortfall is reflected at the state level where policymakers in Albany have implemented large public programs to meet ambitious EV and charging infrastructure deployment goals. Transportation electrification targets set by the State are captured in New York’s Multi-State Plan, which seeks to further the use of renewable energy and zero emission vehicles. In early 2020, Governor Cuomo also announced the “Make-Ready” Program for Electric Vehicles, which directed the State’s utilities to invest in infrastructure to accommodate increased deployment of EV charging stations. This is complemented by the New York Power Authority’s commitment of $250 million through 2025 to invest in EV infrastructure, services, and awareness campaigns.
At the local level, the New York City Transit and Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) 2020-2024 Capitol Program has committed $1.1. billion towards electric buses. The City is also working to electrify public fleet vehicles and is already well ahead of municipal fleet electrification goals set in 2017 with more than 2,000 passenger EVs deployed throughout the city. In February 2020, Mayor de Blasio announced “An All- Electric and Safe New York City Fleet” Executive Order, which committed the City to electrify its municipal vehicle fleet by 2040. The Mayor has also committed to a goal of having electric vehicles comprise 20 percent of all new passenger vehicle registrations citywide by 2025, which matched the State’s zero-emission vehicle goal.
New York City is also leading the charge in the United States towards electrification of ride-hail vehicles through the regulation of shared mobility fleets. Following the announcement of a commitment from former Mayor Bloomberg in 2013 to electrify a third of the City’s taxi fleet by 2020, TLC launched a taxi electrification pilot in 2013 to test the viability of EVs to meet this transportation need. Throughout the past decade, New York City has introduced new regulations and pilot programs aimed at furthering the adoption of electric vehicles while also mitigating congestion and carbon emissions. Under the guidance of the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), in 2019 the New York City Council passed Local Law 147, becoming the first large American city to implement a cap on FHV registrations to reduce the congestion and emissions impact of the ride-hail fleet, which grew by more than four times from 2014 to 2019. The City decided in August 2019 to extend the policy an additional year through August 2020 to assess the impact. The initial rush prompted the City to implement an exemption for EVs and ADA compliant vehicles from this registration cap in August 2019.
Electric utilities are also engaged in transportation electrification efforts at the local level. Con Edison is conducting a pilot program with the NYCDOT to explore curbside charging. The pilot began this May and will run through October 2023. While the 100 Level 2 charging stations being deployed through this pilot are separate from the EV Shared Mobility project, the City is applying learning from this effort to their deployment of DC fast charging. Fast charging hubs installed as a part of the EV Shared Mobility Project will support the goals developed by Con Edison and the City to develop EV fast charging hubs at a total of 50 locations throughout the five boroughs by the end of 2021. Together, the City and utility have invested more than $20 million to support the program.
New York City’s goals have adapted to shifts in the local EV market since the project proposal was approved in the fall of 2017. This section highlights the dynamic nature of the project and adaptations undertaken by New York in order to advance transportation electrification and raise EV awareness among FHV drivers in the region.
At the outset, the City of New York under the leadership of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability (MOS) sought to determine whether providing both EVs and charging infrastructure would help to further the growth of EVs in shared mobility services. Through these interventions, the City would also provide support for the existing initiatives seeking to enhance the electrification of the FHV sector. In the proposal, the City sought partnerships with Empire Clean Cities (ECC) to integrate outcomes of the EV Shared Mobility project with other local and regional initiatives.
New York City initially partnered with Maven Gig, General Motors’s carshare service, to deliver on the EV provision component of the project goals. The City sought to enhance the company’s presence in the New York market and established a goal to make 150 EVs available to FHV drivers for rental. By partnering with Maven, the team set out to demonstrate a strong business case for fleet electrification in New York. To encourage early participation in the EV rental program, the City would offer reduced weekly rental rates for drivers.
FHV drivers provide strong anchor customers for public fast charging services due to the high VMT of their sector. New York City partnered with Maven’s charging service provider EVgo to install four to eight DC fast chargers and six to 10 Level 2 chargers for exclusive use by drivers renting vehicles from Maven for the first year of the project, after which they would become accessible to the public. Maven also worked with EVgo and planned to offer complementary charging for participating drivers at EVgo’s locations.
The City established these goals based on a strong focus on reducing emissions from FHVs throughout the city and providing benefits directly to underserved communities. New York City’s FHV sector has tripled between 2010 and 2019 and is a major contributor to emissions in the city. This makes these vehicles a primary target for local and regional clean transportation policies. As is the case in most markets, a majority of FHV drivers in the city come from low-income and immigrant backgrounds that stand to benefit from the savings potential of EVs. In order to realize improvements in driver quality of life, the City has been working to engage with local advocacy groups and connect drivers to resources that can help them transition to EVs. As part of this effort, in 2018 the City passed legislation for FHVs to comply with a for-hire trip minimum for all drivers.
Shifting conditions in the EV industry in New York City have led to modifications of project goals. The most significant change to the project came when Maven withdrew from the EV Shared Mobility project following their ending of services in New York and seven other cities in May 2019. Maven eventually ended all operations in April 2020. This departure led to a revised focus on the encouragement of EV adoption through charging station deployment and outreach efforts as opposed to providing EVs directly to drivers.
To encourage EV uptake among the FHV driver community, EVgo will deploy six DC fast charging stations and the NYCDOT will deploy four additional fast charging stations at their garage in Court Square. NYCDOT and EVgo stations will be made fully accessible to the public to support overall EV adoption rather than being dedicated to FHV drivers for a period as initially proposed. To distinguish FHV drivers from the general public at the NYCDOT chargers, drivers will be given an option to select their charging session as an FHV driver. While the City is no longer directly deploying Level 2 charging stations for the EV Shared Mobility project, the project will be carried out in conjunction with the rollout of the curbside charging program administered by Con Edison that seeks to deploy 100 Level 2 charging stations throughout the city by October 2020. TLC was engaged to lead data collection efforts to track the adoption of EVs among FHV drivers to gauge the impact of charging stations deployed through the project.
The MOS will continue to work with the ECC to increase EV awareness among FHV drivers. Only one percent of FHV vehicles have been electrified in the city and new policy approaches are required to meet goals of 20 percent EV deployment by 2025. The City is also leveraging the EV exemption from the FHV license cap to increase EV adoption by divers. Since the policy went into place in 2019, 206 new electric FHV have been registered by TLC. The City will also continue to explore informal agreements and partnerships with shared mobility companies that are interested in adding EVs to their fleets as NYC rolls out charging infrastructure. By continuing to explore ways to achieve greater EV deployment, the City seeks to strike a balance between reducing vehicle congestion on the roads and ensuring that if people need to drive, they drive electric.
* Indicates partners that have withdrawn from the project.
• Indicates partners are not awarded contractors.
Establishing cooperation between various city departments has formed a strong foundation for New York City’s work in the EV Shared Mobility project. While the TLC is leading on the regulation and data collection efforts surrounding FHVs, the MOS and NYCDOT are working to facilitate charging infrastructure rollout and the coordination of collecting charger usage data.
NYCDOT with construction management provided by the NY Power Authority is developing a charging hub at the Court Square Municipal Parking garage in Queens. The selected vendor is EV Connect. This effort will match the grant’s target of installing 6 DC fast Chargers with EVgo serving as the primary vendor. Partnerships with third party vendors, however, have been a source of delays due to complicated procurement processes and legal requirements within the City. All contracts were approved in the spring of 2020. During the contract process, the City has been working with EVgo to identify sites. Coordination with Con Edison is also moving forward as the utility continues to deploy curbside stations. The City has been able to leverage this work to coordinate the rollout of charging infrastructure supporting the ride-hail sector. Partnership with the utility will enable closer coordination on utility upgrades and servicing of new sites when they are installed.
On the vehicle and outreach sides of the project, the MOS initially planned to work closely with Maven following project approval in 2017. The carshare service had committed to expanding its EV offerings in New York with 150 Chevy Bolts and promoting EV awareness among their customer base, but their departure from the project has led the City to focus on encouraging EV adoption by installing charging infrastructure. The City is no longer seeking formal partnership with a new vehicle provider and they continue to leverage charging station deployment and ECC to expand public outreach. In particular, New York City is focusing efforts at locations like the TLC offices and Uber’s Greenlight Hubs, in-person driver support centers, to advertise the benefits of EVs and encourage demand for shared mobility EVs.
New York City’s strategy to reduce the impact of FHV activity relies on open data sharing. New York passed legislation in 2018 requiring FHV companies share data with the City and submit to regulatory requirements imposed on all taxi service providers. Because of this, New York City is the only city in the EV Shared Mobility Project to have established data sharing agreements directly with FHVs. These data inform the TLC’s annual congestion reports as well as special reports focused on the FHV sector and allows the City to access data on driver location and activity while engaged with the app platforms. TLC used this information to inform its report on the impacts of the FHV sector which was released in June 2019 and will continue collecting these data to assess the evolving charging use patterns of FHV drivers. The TLC also requires ride sourcing data disclosures which includes driver and vehicle identifiers, pick-up/drop-off locations, and whether the trip is shared (e.g., Uber Pool or Lyft Line).
In terms of charging session analysis, the City will work in conjunction with both EVgo and EV Connect to collect charging data and implement an approach to separate FHV driver charging from general public use. To address the challenge of separating FHV driver data from the general public, the City’s DOT -owned charging stations will ask EV FHV drivers to self-identify that they are FHV drivers. In addition to this, project partner Atlas Public Policy is negotiating an agreement with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to help support NYC FHV driver enrollment in NREL’s nationwide EV FHV driver behavior analysis project. The data from this project would be provided to Atlas and help assess FHV driver charging patterns in NYC. This effort will benefit all partners of the EV Shared Mobility Project. Though initial progress on this agreement had been made, efforts have been paused in light of the nationwide COVID-19 pandemic.
In terms of outreach, New York will implement standardized metrics developed by The Seattle Department of Transportation, the EV Shared Mobility project manager, to track the outcomes of events, online resources, and other elements of the awareness campaign.
New York City has experienced early successes and challenges as their intervention for the EV Shared Mobility project has been implemented. This has revealed lessons that the City can share to inform efforts in other cities. The figure below outlines the timeline for key project milestones so far.
Based on data collected by the TLC, prior August 2019 there were 12 battery electric vehicles that had passed inspection and been licensed by TLC. As of TLC’s most recent inspection in June 2020, there were 218 EVs that have passed and been licensed. The City’s ability to actively track these data distinguishes them from other cities in the EV Shared Mobility project. Active EV drivers are of primary interest to the City and TLC will continue to study FHV EV adoption as well as driver attrition rates throughout the course of the project.
The City completed its contract with EVgo in April 2020 and has secured vendor agreements with the charging service provider EV Connect to begin installation of the first NYCDOT-owned charging station. After a delay due to the COVID-19 response, partners have completed site walkthroughs and begun the site selection process for the first EVgo stations. Ongoing coordination with Con Edison has been key to identifying potential sites for the EVgo stations and EVgo will leverage the company’s existing relationships to secure potential site hosts.
The loss of Maven as a vehicle provider required considerable restructuring in order to meet the grant requirements. Although Maven’s departure was precipitated by reasons beyond the scope of this project as a part of a wider company restructuring, it nonetheless had a significant impact. Maven’s exit pushed New York City to search for other vehicle partners, although these efforts faced additional challenges. Early conversations with a major rental car company fell through when the company informed the City that they did not have the capacity to pursue any additional pilots at this time.
Maven’s departure led the city to shift focus away from directly providing EVs to FHV drivers to encouraging EV adoption through the licensing cap, direct outreach and charging deployment. This renewed focus also draws on lessons learned through the early taxi electrification pilot. The vehicles used in that pilot were short-range Nissan LEAFs, and a lack of fast charging access made it difficult for drivers to successfully complete all of their trips.
Delayed contracting with charging service providers and the primary outreach partner has become a major challenge for New York City and have led to extensions of project timelines more than once. With many moving pieces including FHV driver outreach, FHV data collection, siting and construction timelines, and overall project oversight, multiple city departments and vendors must be involved. Aligning this projects’ goals with that of multiple city agencies and vendors, who each have their own goals and processes, has proven difficult and timely.
The city has adapted to lessons learned throughout the course of the project and is mobilizing interagency partnerships and increasing communication to accelerate the internal review process for various contracts. This has enabled the City to move forward with site visits and construction for some of the City-owned charging stations that will contribute to citywide goals to deploy fast charging hubs in all five boroughs of New York City. Reflecting on project challenges faced so far, the project team has found:
- Cities are both subject to and have influence over the vendor approval process. Streamlining this can accelerate project timelines and avoid delays.
- Additional time should be allocated to ensure clarity throughout the contracting and planning processes and anticipate delays.
- Exploring informal agreements can also save time on the contracting front, such as the City is exploring with vehicle providers.
- Fast charging is a key program component for many of the shared mobility companies considering offering EVs.
The City will continue to integrate these lessons into the project as contracts are approved and charging station deployment ramps up. Current progress is addressed further in the section below.
In the current phase of work, New York is focused on accelerating the deployment of its chargers, while being mindful of potential COVID-19 impacts on its city’s population, FHV drivers, and agency priorities. In addition to ongoing talks to develop informal agreements with shared mobility EV providers in the city, New York is moving ahead with plans to site and install 10 total fast charging stations around the city. EVgo and EV Connect are the two vendors selected for charging station deployment. Some other highlights from through the second quarter of 2020 include the following:
- ECC’s outreach strategy has largely been re-envisioned to adapt to COVID-19 social distancing orders and will include a mixture of online outreach with placeholders for future in-person outreach.
- After a 2.5-month delay due to Covid-19 construction embargo, NYC’s building permit was approved, and construction began on the Court Square chargers.
- Data sharing agreements between New York City’s TLC and NYCDOT were finalized with Atlas Public Policy, which will allow future analysis of EV adoption among FHV drivers as charging stations are installed.
The City was able to initiate the construction process for their first charging station with EV Connect in this period. The station is expected to be operational by October 2020 and the City expects that only limited supportive construction will be required from both EV Connect and Con Edison to provide more power to the site.
The contract with ECC has also been completed and was approved in March. Pending the full reopening of the city as the coronavirus pandemic slows, ECC will coordinate with TLC, MOS, and DOT to commence EV outreach efforts with FHV drivers directly. The planned outreach will unfold in three pushes: prior, during, and after charging station installation.
Beyond the scope of the EV Shared Mobility project, the City is engaged in the Con Edison pilot program with the NYCDOT that seeks to install 100 curbside Level 2 chargers. The City continues to engage shared mobility providers like Enterprise and Zipcar, which have both expressed interest in providing EVs on their platforms if DC fast charging infrastructure is deployed to support potential customers.
New York City faces fewer data hurdles than other cities due to its existing data collection requirements with FHVs, but still must contend with the issue of separating FHV driver charging from the general public. NYC is working to address this issue by exploring options to have EV FHV drivers self-identify when they use NYCDOT-owned charging stations. The current reporting and assessment timeline also create some lag time between charger installation and assessment of its impact on EV uptake. Atlas Public Policy is also working to finalize an agreement with NREL that would support collection and analysis of charging session data to better understand the behavior of FHV drivers and their needs.
Current progress and next steps are intertwined for New York as the City looks forward to the acceleration of program work and securing key site host agreements. Some of the key next steps for the City include the following:
- Identify locations and secure site host agreements for EVgo chargers.
- Installation of first NYCDOT-owned charging stations by October 2020.
- Analysis of FHV and charger usage data.
- Planning and execution of first outreach events following reopening of the city as COVID-19 cases decline.
With contracts signed, partnerships solidified, and COVID-19 restrictions being slowly lifted, the City will resume its implementation of the Court Square garage chargers and begin identifying locations for EVgo’s chargers. ECC will also adjust its outreach strategy to educate FHV drivers on the benefits of EVs to be a blend of online and in-person if possible.
While it is not a primary focus of the project at this time, New York City will continue to engage with companies interested in adding EVs to their rental or carshare fleets. The City will also continue to work directly with Con Edison to increase the demand for public charging as it becomes available and assess the impact of new installations on the ride-hail sector. To accelerate the contracting process and ensure the maximum impact from project interventions, the City will also consider accepting informal agreements and commitments from potential partners.
The initial phases of outreach will be centered around direct driver engagement. This includes engaging with local advocacy groups to reach a wider audience. MOS is working with the TLC on outreach materials that connect drivers to information on utility and state incentives that could benefit them. All project partners will continue to integrate the outcomes of the EV Shared Mobility project with the citywide and statewide transportation electrification targets.