Pols announce federal funding for e-bike charging stations outside NYCHA buildings

Senator Chuck Schumer joined Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Mayor Eric Adams to announce federal funding for e-bike charging stations outside of NYCHA buildings.
Photo by Dean Moses

The Big Apple’s public housing buildings will receive e-bike charging and storage stations thanks to a new federal grant, Mayor Eric Adams, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced Sunday.

The trio publicized the new $25 million measure outside of the Baruch Houses in Lower Manhattan on June 25. Through this new lithium-ion battery safety effort, they say some 173 electric mobility charging and storage stations will be installed outside of more than 50 New York City Housing Authority residences across the five boroughs.

“Being the majority leader ain’t too shabby. We got the grant because it is so, so important,” Senator Schumer said. “’It’s gonna provide safe storage and accessible charging infrastructure to help alleviate the safety concerns. So, we deliver this safety to our NYCHA residents, our deliveristas, and our e-bike and scooter users.”

Sunday’s announcement comes less than a week after a fatal three-alarm fire inside of a Chinatown e-bike repair shop rife with violations related to lithium-ion batteries. This latest tragedy, in which four people were killed and several others were injured, brought the death toll for lithium-ion battery-related blazes up to 13 this year alone, according to the FDNY. 

There have been a total of 13 deaths due to e-bike fires this year, according to the FDNY. Photo by Dean Moses

Calling the money a “godsend” and a “lifesaver,” Schumer said the grant will fund the construction, development, and installation of 53 outdoor micro-mobility charging and storage stations. NYCHA applied for the funding, and with the help of Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, the city agency was able to secure $25 million for the effort.

In addition to the funding, both senators have been pushing to pass a bipartisan bill that will set consumer standards for lithium-ion batteries, since many third-party sellers distribute faulty or poorly made batteries. 

Schumer showcases a lithium-ion battery. Photo by Dean Moses

“In addition to this funding, Senator Schumer and I have been working on legislation to create mandatory safety standards for lithium-ion batteries used by e-bikes and scooters. If passed, it would take improperly manufactured batteries off the market, it would add another layer of protection for those who purchase e-bikes and scooters,” Gillibrand said. “Let me be clear, most lithium-ion batteries and chargers are safe, and we need to encourage the use of more sustainable transportation alternatives. But we also need to make sure that these micro mobility vehicles are stored and charged safely so that faulty or improperly manufactured batteries don’t put people in harm’s way.”

Mayor Adams added that these new stations will allow families to sleep easier knowing that their hallways and doorways will not be blocked by charging e-bikes.

“The danger is that oftentimes, people leave the bikes in the hallways near an exit by the doorways, that is really blocking the egress and it also creates a very dangerous situation,” Adams said. “With more stations stored at larger developments, an average of 67 residents will be served by these stations. This means that residents no longer need to charge their e-bikes in their apartments.”