With the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21) under way in Paris, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced the launch of NYC Clean Fleet: a comprehensive plan aimed at creating the largest electric vehicle (EV) municipal fleet in the U.S., cutting municipal vehicle emissions in half by 2025 – and 80% by 2035 – and serving as a model for the private sector and other cities in fighting climate change.
“A cleaner, greener fleet is yet another step toward our ambitious but necessary sustainability goals,” says Mayor Bill de Blasio. “By building the largest municipal electric vehicle fleet in the country – and potentially the world – New York City is continuing to lead by example. Cities are setting the pace on climate action – and with our city and our planet’s very future at stake, we need national leaders in Paris to take note and take action.”
According to a press release, NYC Clean Fleet will do the following:
– Replace approximately 2,000 fossil-fuel-powered sedans with EVs, which, combined with the over 300 EVs currently on the road, would mean EVs will make up half of the city’s non-emergency sedans. The city says sedans are the single largest category of vehicles in its fleet, and this transition would reduce gasoline consumption by approximately 2.5 million gallons a year and reduce the city fleet’s emissions by 9% by 2025.
– Expand the use of anti-idling, hybrid, and stop-start technologies in medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, such as sanitation trucks, to substantially reduce emissions and gasoline use while at rest. The city says these technologies can reduce a vehicle’s fuel consumption by up to 33% and total fleet emissions by 5%.
– Increase the use of alternatives to traditional diesel fuels, including higher biodiesel blends, compressed natural gas (CNG) or renewable diesel, to displace the use of traditional diesel fuel in city vehicles by 2035. The city estimates these diesel alternatives will reduce emissions by 34%.
– Release a Request for Information for additional cutting-edge technology solutions for both light- and heavy-duty vehicles, including advanced battery EVs, hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles and CNG vehicles.
– Adopt best practices in fleet management that limit the usage of SUVs based on specific security or operational needs, promote eco-driving to optimize fuel efficiency through education and training, and expand the use of car and ride sharing to support more efficient vehicle use.
– Partner with private and other government fleets, as well as non-profit groups, while leveraging city purchasing power, to serve as an example and galvanize greener fleets across all sectors.
The city says it will immediately move to implement NYC Clean Fleet, including through converting light-duty vehicles to EVs through the existing vehicle replacement cycle and identifying additional siting options for EV infrastructure.
According to the city, purchasing the new EVs can be done without new operating expenditures, as the relatively marginal additional cost of EVs will be offset by fuel savings, reduced maintenance savings, and increased resale value. However, the city says it does expect relatively incremental capital costs over the next 10 years to support necessary upgrades to electrical systems in support of new charging capacity.
Nilda Mesa, director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, says, “We are walking the talk.”
Stacey Cumberbatch, commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, comments, “NYC manages the largest and one of the greenest municipal fleets in the United States. DCAS has been working with city agencies to implement sustainable approaches including plug-in electric vehicles, hybrids, biodiesel, natural gas, and even solar units. We look forward to growing these efforts together and meeting these new ambitious targets.”
Environmental groups also have praised the new plan.
“To create a climate-friendly transportation network, part of what is needed are the twin strategies of electric vehicles and a clean power supply,” says Eric A. Goldstein, New York City environment director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Mayor de Blasio’s plan to create the nation’s largest municipal electric vehicle fleet is a smart step along the road to a more sustainable transportation future.”
Rory Christian, New York clean energy director of the Environmental Defense Fund, says such “smart, forward-thinking policy decisions … will deliver tremendous benefits to New Yorkers, businesses and the environment.”
The full NYC Clean Fleet plan is available here.
It’s cool that NYC is looking to switch its small vehicles over to EV’s, but the big savings, both in money spent on fuel and in reduced greenhouse gasses and other pollution is in going EV for the big vehicles, like busses and garbage trucks. Electric transit bus technology is ready to go (see BYD and Proterra) and has a lifecycle cost comparable to or lower than diesel.