At New York Auto Show, Con Edison touts a low-carbon future

4-13-2022 NYIAS
Photo: Con Edison

Con Edison’s vision of electric vehicles as a significant mode of transportation on city streets will be on display at the New York International Auto Show, from April 15-24 at the Jacob Javits Center. 

“The internal combustion engine accounts for a large percentage of emissions in the City, and going electric in the transportation sector is really important in the fight against climate change,” said Vicki Kuo, Con Edison vice president for energy efficiency

Currently, more than 29,000 electric vehicles are registered in New York City and Westchester, a number that increases exponentially (1,200 were added in February alone, according to the most recent data). At the Auto Show, Con Edison will discuss how its programs incentivize that growth by making it easier for drivers to adapt to EVs. 

PowerReady, a program that offers financial support to building owners for installing EV chargers, addresses a key concern among New Yorkers who are interested in buying an EV. “For densely populated urban areas, access to a charging station is a big challenge,” said Kuo. “Our customers don’t always have private garages or private driveways like some other parts of the country.”

Currently, Con Edison supports 100 public curbside chargers, with many more in privately owned garages and buildings. By 2025, working with the Department of Transportation, Con Edison aims to increase that to 19,000 charging plugs in the New York City target territory (including Westchester), which will accommodate 250,000 EVs. By 2035, Con Edison aims for 400,000 plugs, and 1 million by 2050.

Another initiative, SmartCharge, allows EV owners to earn cash rewards based on charging data, accessed through a web portal that monitors time and energy consumed during a charging session. 

The 6,000 EV owners currently enrolled in SmartCharge are rewarded for charging their vehicles between midnight and 8 a.m., when the demand for electricity is low. Through their PayPal account, participants can send their money to a bank account, apply the money to online purchases or request a check. 

EV owners who attend the Auto Show can earn up to $200 for enrolling in SmartCharge and charging within a week. Participants then earn 10 cents per kilowatt hour for charging during off-peak hours. Some EV drivers earn more than $1,000 per year.

Attendees at the Auto Show can talk to Con Edison reps about the EV future: the enrollment of taxis and rideshare companies like United Taxi Management, Revel, and Gravity. The recent pilot program that will have implications on the electrification of school buses. And Con Edison’s own example, retiring 100 percent of its gasoline-powered light-duty fleet by 2035 (it currently has 199 EVs). 

Kuo said the company is excited about its return to the show, which had been shuttered since 2019 due to the pandemic. “Take a ride in an EV and you’ll realize it’s nice. It’s quiet. It’s clean, there’s no emission,” said Kuo. “It’s the future of transportation in the City.” 

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