When it comes to electric vehicles, New York mayor Bill De Blasio gets it. “The easier we make it for electric vehicles, the more manufacturers will build and the more prices will go down,” he says. “The future is electric.” And De Blasio is willing to put his money where his mouth is. On September 22, he announced that the city plans to spend $10 million to install 50 fast charging hubs in the city’s five boroughs by 2020. Each hub will have up to 20 fast charging stations.
Charging infrastructure in metropolitan areas is a matter of vital concern to city dwellers, many of whom have no access to private chargers they can use to charge their cars overnight. Tesla has recently announced a new style charger that operates on lower power (72 kW) than its traditional Supercharger equipment (125 kW) but is more compact, making it more suitable for urban installations.
The mayor managed to take a swipe at the #FakePresident while announcing the new program. “New York will continue to invest in the new technologies we need to reduce our emissions, especially in the face of Trump’s abdication of leadership on climate. By helping develop the infrastructure necessary for electric vehicles, we’re going to make it easier than ever for New Yorkers to switch. This is another step towards aligning our action on climate change with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degree stretch goal.”
At the present time there are only 16 fast chargers available for public use in New York. There are over 600 Level 2 chargers, but they require up to 8 hours to complete their task. New York officials are now working with utility company ConEdison to select the best location in each borough for the first fast charging hub to be constructed.
The New York initiative is laudable, but it also allows traditional car makers to snicker up their sleeves as they wait for tax payers to foot the bill for doing what Tesla has done on its own. Sadly, this sends a signal to the auto industry that if they wait long enough and drag their feet, someone else will do the heavy lifting for them. Leadership is something the traditional car companies all seem to avoid like The Plague.