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America’s Going Electric Where Will Apartment Dwellers Charge Their Cars?

New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s Labor Day signing of four pieces of new legislation protecting and supporting workers gave those laws a lot of visibility. (Readers of CooperatorNews can find a summary of two of those four pieces of legislation—one addressing the prevailing wage law for co-ops and condos receiving the 421-a tax abatement, and the other a shared work benefits extension—in the Pulse section of our October issue.)

Perhaps less noticed by the state’s co-op and condo community was another piece of legislation that Governor Hochul signed a few days later, banning the sale of internal combustion engine passenger cars and light trucks by 2035. On its face, this new law doesn’t seem to have much to do with the multifamily housing industry...until you consider the fact that many of the state’s residents—and a vast majority of New York City dwellers—live in multifamily apartments, condos, and co-ops. Few of these residents have either the space or the authority to install the charging stations they’ll need to power non-internal-combustion vehicles. As laws like these shift the momentum toward an electric vehicle (EV) future, providing ready access to charging is one of the biggest issues facing New Yorkers during the transition. 

The Plan

Happily, New York City may be on the verge of solving that issue. CleanTechnica reports that the nation’s most populous city (8.8 million people in 2020) plans to create one of the country’s largest electric vehicle charging networks over the next 10 years in an effort to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. The plan was released the day after the governor’s announcement about the internal combustion engine ban, and is another important component of the city’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

Department of Transportation (DOT) head Hank Gutman said in a statement: “With the climate crisis upon us, it’s time to plan bigger about how New York City can dramatically accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. With major federal investments in EV charging on the horizon, our plan lays the groundwork for a network of tens of thousands of public EV chargers equitably distributed across the city, enabling many more car owners to go electric.” (It should be noted that the federal investments to which Gutman refers are part of President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that has yet to pass through Congress.)

CleanTechnica estimates that New York City will need 400,000 electric vehicles on the city’s streets by 2030 to meet the 2050 carbon neutrality goal. To make that happen, all those EV drivers need to have access to enough chargers to meet their needs. To get there, says the outlet, the city plans to install 40,000 public Level 2 (L2) chargers and 6,000 DC fast chargers throughout the city by 2030. All municipal parking lots and garages will have 20% of their parking spots equipped with L2 chargers by 2025, and 40% by 2030. In addition, the DOT will install 1,000 curbside charging stations throughout the five boroughs by 2025, with that number increasing to 10,000 curbside charging stations by 2030.

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