In a recent update on NYC Clean Fleet, a comprehensive plan to create the largest electric vehicle (EV) fleet of any U.S. city, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city’s fleet now operates more than 500 EVs.
In addition, all orders in fiscal year 2017 of non-emergency sedans will be EVs, growing the fleet to nearly 1,000 by the end of 2017.
According to the office of the mayor, the NYC Clean Fleet is part of the administration’s goal to cut municipal vehicle emissions in half by 2025 – and 80% by 2035 – the largest such commitment of any U.S. city, making NYC Clean Fleet the most comprehensive and ambitious blueprint for municipal fleet sustainability in the nation.
Originally announced on Dec. 1, 2015, NYC Clean Fleet is one aspect of an ambitious climate initiative outlined in Mayor de Blasio’s OneNYC plan, a series of initiatives to create a more equitable, more resilient and more sustainable city overall.
“A little less than a year ago, we made a commitment to create a greener, cleaner fleet, with the end goal of creating a more sustainable city,” said Mayor de Blasio. “It is time that we take ownership and responsibility for our climate. By furthering our work to create the greenest and cleanest electric fleet in the country and world, we are leading the way for others to follow in our footsteps and leaving a lasting impression on our climate.”
“The city’s sustainability goals require a deeply decarbonized transportation network. To do this, the city is leading by example,” said Daniel Zarrilli, senior director for climate policy and programs and chief resilience officer. “A cleaner city fleet is yet another step toward our ambitious and necessary goal of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.”
“NYC operates the largest municipal fleet in the United States, with over 29,000 vehicles of all types,” stated Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) Commissioner Lisette Camilo. “NYC is leading the way in researching and implementing practical, effective and cleaner alternatives to traditional cars and trucks.”
“City agencies with large fleets, including [the] NYPD, FDNY, DOC, DSNY, Parks, DOT and DEP, are working more closely together than ever to green and transform our fleet, including expanded use of electric vehicles, hybrids, biofuels and anti-idling technology,” said NYC Chief Fleet Officer Keith Kerman.
Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro commented that the department is exploring all options to reducing its carbon footprint by increasing the number of electric cars in its fleet, using renewable energy in the firehouses and installing charging stations citywide to reduce idling time for ambulances.
As reported, the transportation sector accounts for more than one-quarter of citywide greenhouse-gas emissions. City-owned and -operated vehicles account for approximately 3% of citywide transportation emissions, creating the polluting equivalent of an 80 MW coal power plant. The DCAS is exploring various channels to ensure its sizable EV fleet can charge up, including a solicitation for stand-alone solar carports that can charge fleet EVs with renewable power without relying on the electric grid. The DCAS has also bid a contract for EV sedans with over 200+ miles range and will be issuing a contract for solar-powered portable light towers.
NYC Clean Fleet also set forth a vision of displacing petroleum diesel with alternative fuels for use in medium- and heavy-duty fleets. City agencies such as Sanitation, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Transportation and Parks already use 5% blends of biodiesel (B5) year-round and 20% (B20) during the warm weather months. Next year, these agencies will pilot the use of 50% biodiesel (B50), in addition to renewable diesel.
Further, emergency service agencies, including the New York Police Department (NYPD), New York Fire Department (FDNY) and Department of Corrections (DOC) are also using blends of biodiesel, from B5 to B20. The NYPD successfully transitioned this year from B5 to B10. The city is also actively investigating the supply chain, fire safety and permitting steps that would be required to run portions of the heavy-duty fleet on renewable diesel, which can completely replace petroleum diesel in existing diesel engines from the same feedstocks that produce biodiesel.
Several agencies and individuals, including environmental groups and state legislators, have commended the expansion and continuation of this program.
“The threats of climate change have never been more alarming, and New York City alone produces more greenhouse-gas emissions than 97 countries,” said Letitia James, public advocate. “I applaud Mayor de Blasio for this effort to decrease emissions from the thousands of municipal vehicles by continuing to switch to cleaner alternatives, drastically reducing our harmful footprint.”
“Deploying a cleaner, increasingly electric-powered vehicle fleet is more than a smart investment – it’s a bold statement that shows governments, large organizations and even individuals can make a difference by investing in these world-saving technologies,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer.
“I applaud Mayor de Blasio on the expansion of the New York City Clean Feet Program. As the ranking Democratic member on the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, I understand how crucial it is that we quickly move toward the use of clean, renewable energy sources. I look forward to supporting state and city initiatives like Clean Fleet that aim to reduce our carbon footprint through sustainable energy options,” said State Senator Kevin Parker.
“The Sierra Club commends Mayor de Blasio on his commitment to create the largest city electric vehicle fleet in the nation – a model for cities and towns worldwide,” said Gina Coplon-Newfield, Sierra Club’s EV initiative director. “With the progress New York City has already made toward electrifying its vehicle fleet, and with [this] important commitment to increase the number of electric vehicles in its fleet even further, New York City is tackling the climate crisis while improving air quality for its residents.”
“Conversion of vehicle fleets to electric is an essential part of any serious program to reduce greenhouse gases. It is excellent to see the City of New York take such aggressive steps in this direction, both in itself and for the example it sets for other large fleet owners,” said Professor Michael B. Gerrard of Columbia Law School, Director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law.
The full NYC Clean Fleet plan is available here.