The city is charging ahead with its green fleet initiatives.
The Department of Citywide Administrative Services is slated to unveil its 500th electric vehicle charger at the Bronx Theatre High School Wednesday. The marquee station is also one of 37 solar-powered chargers, which have panels that can move to track and capture sunlight.
DCAS, which manages most of the city’s vehicles, estimates that these solar carports will provide enough power annually to avoid purchasing about 13,000 gallons of gas.
“With 500 electric vehicle chargers, we are powering a clean and modern vehicle fleet that is reducing City government’s carbon footprint,” DCAS Commissioner Lisette Camilo said in a statement. “Our solar carports are taking it a step further by using nothing but sunshine to power many of our cars.”
The newest charger at Bronx Theatre High School on the John F. Kennedy Campus will fuel an electric sedan used for drivers’ education courses. DCAS and the city Department of Education have stationed electrical vehicles for students at the five other campuses where driver’s ed is offered.
“Over the past three years, our schools have greatly expanded environmental initiatives, including our Zero Waste program and the installation of solar panels, and with this solar carport, John F. Kennedy High School has taken another step in the right direction,” Elizabeth Rose, deputy schools chancellor, said in a statement.
The 500 chargers serve the city’s growing fleet of 1,300 electrical vehicles. At the end of 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans to have at least 2,000 electric vehicles on the road and to halve the amount of emissions city vehicles release by 2025.
But DCAS does not intend to leave private drivers in the dark. The department said it will begin rolling out five publicly accessible chargers, starting this summer with a station at the World’s Fair Marina public parking lot in Queens. DCAS aims to have one such charger in each borough. Users would only need to reimburse the city for the cost of the electricity they use, DCAS said.
Although there are hundreds of charging stations in the city, de Blasio announced in September that the city aimed to add 50 “fast-charging hubs” by 2020. The mayor said these would allow drivers to charge their cars in about 30 minutes, compared to the eight hours it can take at other chargers.
To date, the city said it has opened 27 public chargers in city Department of Transportation garages. There are another 518 chargers open to the public that are not affiliated with the city, 16 of which offer fast-charging services, according to the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability.