The Biden administration has set a national goal for half of all new vehicles sold by 2030 to be electric, saying switching to battery power is key to keeping pace with other countries and fighting change climatic. He also launched a $5 billion program to help cities and states build networks of charging stations and promoted financial incentives for consumers to buy electric cars.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation last year requiring all new passenger cars and trucks sold in the state to be zero-emissions by 2035, and also pushed to electrify the city’s fleet. state for executive agencies. “We are at a turning point in our fight to tackle the climate crisis and transition to a clean energy future,” she said in a statement.
But as more cities and states have turned to electric vehicles, the industry has scrambled to keep up. Many manufacturers have had limited inventory during the pandemic, and major truck and bus manufacturers are just starting to sell electric vehicles.
Electric vehicles can also cost significantly more than gasoline-powered vehicles, with an electric school bus costing up to three times as much as a diesel bus. While it’s generally cheaper to run vehicles on electricity than on gas or diesel, electricity rates designed for large industrial users like private factories often negate the savings for municipalities, said Kevin Miller, director of public policy for ChargePoint, a company that helps cities and other customers install charging stations. Miller said New York and other states have passed legislation to combat the high rates, which regulators are implementing.
To supply electric vehicles, New York City has built a network of 1,091 charging stations on sidewalks and in garages and parking lots, of which around 100 stations, including the 86 on sidewalks, are intended for public use.
Robust networks of chargers have been essential in global cities like Beijing that are leading the shift to electric vehicles, said Zhongjie Lin, associate professor of urban planning at the University of Pennsylvania. Still, he added, New York could learn from Beijing’s missteps by considering where to deploy the Chargers.
Beijing has concentrated chargers in the city center, Lin said, when it would have made more sense, depending on usage patterns, to place them in residential areas where demand exceeds supply or at close to transit stations where people park their electric cars. Charging stations “represent a huge investment”, he said, “so we have to do them right”.