U.S. Cities Challenge: Going Green – Getting the Gray Out

October 17, 2009/Steve Tackett


In what could develop into a model program for other U.S. cities across the country, New York City goes green with Electric Vehicles.
New York City is growing greener. And we’re not talking about Central Park. Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently announced three new developments in the City’s use of alternative fuel vehicles. Through an initiative called PlaNYC, the plans are to reduce the municipal government carbon emissions 30 percent by 2017 and the entire city’s carbon emissions 30 percent by the year 2030.
“Through PlaNYC and our vision for a greener, greater, New York, we are dedicated to reducing pollution and improving the air quality in our City,” said Mayor Bloomberg.
“We are encouraging people to leave their cars at home by making mass transit more accessible and attractive, but no matter how much we modernize our public transportation, there will still be trips that have to be made by car.”
Bloomberg added that he wanted the vehicles driven in New York to be more energy efficient and to use cleaner fuels. The three-part program includes:
— The Department of Sanitation will use two new hybrid electric diesel collection trucks, a hybrid hydraulic collection truck and a hybrid rack truck, the first in the country designed for heavy-duty applications.
These vehicles will reduce truck emissions, decrease fuel consumption and truck noise, and help collect some of the over 11,000 tons of garbage and recycling the department picks up every day.

driver recharges MINI E

— The Parks Department and the Street Conditions Observation Unit (SCOUT) will field-test 10 all-electric MINI E vehicles on loan from the BMW Group.
The MINI E travels about 100 miles on a single charge powered by a 150-kilowatt electric motor (equal to 201 horsepower.) The energy supply comes from a high-performance rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Yesterday, the BMW Group presented a fleet of 10 zero-emission, battery-powered MINI E vehicles to NYC. Eight of them will be used in NYC’s Street Condition Observation Unit, known as SCOUT, the remaining two have been designated for the NYC Parks Department for special events and patrolling.
SCOUT is a squad of 15 inspectors who drive around New York’s five boroughs looking for quality of life violations, including potholes, overflowing litter baskets, or missing stop signs or graffiti. Inspectors motor around in a fleet of 10 three-wheeled vehicles (Interceptor Scooters), five hybrid Toyota Prius’ and eight of the newly acquired MINI E’s.
The Bloomberg Administration has launched a study on how the Electric Vehicle consumer market in New York City can be developed. The study will examine city driving and parking patterns. For example, most New Yorkers do not own a car and even those who own cars may still rely on mass transit for daily commuting purposes. Also, many New Yorkers park their cars on the street or in commercial parking garages.
The goals for the program include:
— An education campaign to help drivers understand the economic and environmental benefits of electric vehicles;
— Expedited permitting to install chargers at home or in commercial garages;
— Rebates to lower the upfront cost of an electric vehicle;
— Working with automotive manufacturers and other companies to build charging facilities where New York City drivers currently park.

Copyright, Motor Matters, 2009