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For Electric Cars, NYC Turns a New (Nissan) Leaf

Lizzie Horvitz

Posted March 18, 2013 in Health and the Environment, Moving Beyond Oil, Solving Global Warming

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With spring just around the corner, tree foliage isn’t the only place leaves are emerging. Shortly, we’ll be seeing a lot more Electric Leafs (you know--like the Nissan one).   In a small residential garage in the Financial District, I gathered last week with my NRDC colleague Johanna Dyer and others to celebrate the installation of and ribbon-cutting for a new electric vehicle charging station.

The new charging stations were installed as part of a public-private partnership between NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) and the Albanese Corporation, a real estate firm.   ChargePoint, the maker of these EV chargers, provides the largest network of EV charging stations in the world, and will deploy more than 80 EV charging stations throughout New York State over the next seven years, thanks to a $1 million grant from NYSERDA. 

This project is in conjunction with Governor Cuomo’s new long-term plan to create over 3,000 charging stations by 2018 around New York State -- as mentioned in his recent State of the State address.  Under the Governor’s plan, 211,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions will never see the light of day thanks to these cleaner cars.   And Mayor Bloomberg has also weighed in on the issue, promising in his recent State of the City address to add more than 10,000 EV charging spots "EV-ready" in NYC over the next seven years.  

As Mark Izeman, director of NRDC New York has written here and here, electric vehicle growth is a necessary step to making New York a greener city.  And NRDC has been active in efforts to electrify many of the city’s 13,000 yellow taxis.

 Speakers for the kickoff included Pat Romano, ChargePoint President, CEO, Frank Murray, NYSERDA CEO, Russell Albanese, Albanese Organization Chairman, and Ari Kahn, Policy Advisor for Electric Vehicles at New York City’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability.  

The first new units are housed in the garage of the Solaire, the first “green” residential-use building in the US.  This location, as Mr. Murray explained, is ideal, as this LEED certified building uses 35% less energy than a conventional new building. 

As he further explained, motor vehicles account for one-third of the world’s oil consumption, two-thirds of US oil consumption, and possibly even more for New York City. 

Electric vehicles are over 70% cleaner than conventional cars, and the city is already trailblazing by having one of the largest fleets of government electric vehicles in the nation.

Furthermore, Ari Kahn mentioned an upcoming pilot of six electric Nissan Leafs that will be used as yellow Taxis around the city.  The new charging stations will truly help in the fight towards clean air, alternative energy, and against climate change.   Like the trees, electric cars will be blooming in no time.    

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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