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.
State of the EV and Shared Mobility Space in New York City
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.
Project Structure and Core Goals
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.
Initial Goals and Scope
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.
Current Goals and Scope
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.
Partnership Building and Contracting
* 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.
Data Collection and Analysis Strategy
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.