20% of new parking spaces in NYC must be electric-car ready

New York City targets pollution with law requiring that 20% of new parking spaces in NYC be electric-car ready

New York City, under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has implemented a handful of policies and programs very strongly focused on fighting pollution and improving the health of the city’s eight million or so inhabitants. Electric cars have been a strong part of Bloomberg’s efforts, and their role in the Big Apple is likely to get much stronger in the coming few years as a result.

The latest accomplishment is a new law that will require 20% of new off-street parking spaces to be electric-car ready. Off-street parking spaces include those in parking garages as well as surface parking lots. The law specifies that:

A minimum of 20 percent of the parking spaces in an open parking lot shall be equipped with electrical raceway capable of providing a minimum supply of 11.5kVA to an EVSE from an electrical supply panel. The raceway shall be no smaller than 1 inch.  The electrical supply panel serving these parking spaces must have at least 3.1 kW of available capacity for each stall connected to it with raceway.

In addition to completely new parking facilities, if an existing parking facility increases in size to the point that it requires more electrical service, it also must satisfy these requirements.

These details and more are stipulated in Intro 1176, which was introduced to New York City Council on October 30, 2013, and just approved on December 10. However, Bloomberg announced the plan back in February.

The law specifically targets pollution. The first section of the legislation notes: “The Council finds that electric vehicles emit approximately 75% less carbon dioxide (CO2) than average vehicles. Pure battery electric vehicles do not emit tailpipe pollutants such as benzene and nitrogen oxide, which negatively impact city air quality and resident health. Providing for infrastructure to promote and support electric vehicle use will lead to improvement of the city’s air quality and reduce the city’s production of greenhouse gases.”

The policy is expected to create 10,000 new EV charger-ready parking spaces in NYC, and about 5,000 of those over the next seven years.

Some of the city’s other notable efforts to tackle pollution include a goal to have 1/3 of NYC’s taxi fleet electric vehicles by 2020promotion of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign (and a $50 million commitment to the cause through Bloomberg Philanthropies); and a goal of developing the largest bike-sharing program in North America, which has been accomplished through the launch of NYC’s Citi Bike program.

Driving electric cars creates zero emissions. Some people have claimed that they are still creating pollution if the electricity they use comes from fossil fuel power plants. However, due to electric motors being much more efficient than gasoline engines, studies have found that driving electric cars is still much cleaner than driving gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicles almost everywhere in the world. One of the most comprehensive studies on this matter was conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists. One of the key conclusions of that study was: “nearly half (45 percent) of Americans live in ‘best’ regions where an EV has lower global warming emissions than a 50 mile per gallon (mpg) gasoline-powered vehicle, topping even the best gasoline hybrids on the market. In places like California and most of New York, EV’s environmental performance could be as high as an 80 mpg gasoline-powered vehicle.” Even in the “worst” region, the mpg equivalency was “similar to the best non-hybrid compact gasoline vehicles available today.”

The availability of mass-market electric vehicles has jumped tremendously in the past year or two, and costs have also come down tremendously. As a result, sales have jumped. Through November, US electric car sales are up about 300% compared to the same period in 2012. New York is one of eight states that in October signed an agreement aimed at quickly increasing the number of zero-emission vehicles within their borders. The goal is 3.3 million by 2025.

Image credit: Jeffrey under a CC license via Flickr

Editor’s note: This is a guest post written by Zachary Shahan, editor of CleanTechnica and Planetsave. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of ABB or its employees.

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About the author

Zachary Shahan

I'm the director of the CleanTechnica and Planetsave news sites. I've been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and I've been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. I'm also the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity.
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