New York City’s push towards an all-electric fleet of rideshare vehicles by 2030 is raising concerns about the adequacy of the current charging infrastructure to meet the growing demand.
According to the latest data reported by the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), out of the 78,000 authorized app-based rideshare vehicles, approximately 2,200 are electric.
However, the TLC is expecting a significant increase, projecting that 25% of the fleet will be electrified by 2026.
This move would bring the number of electric for-hire vehicles on the streets to approximately 19,500.
Studies by the United States Department of Energy and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority highlight a significant shortfall in the charging network, noting, “The existing charging network in New York City is not adequate even in the most optimistic scenario.”
The city has 187 direct-current fast chargers, but by 2027, over 1,000 will be necessary to service an estimated 21,000 electric vehicles.
The city’s charging station spread reveals an uneven distribution, with the majority of the 1,960 Level 2 slower-charging ports located in Manhattan, a borough where less than 10% of rideshare drivers reside.
The scarcity of charging options is especially challenging for drivers without access to overnight charging facilities.
Bruce Schaller, a traffic consultant, pointed out to the Daily News that “drivers tend to live where there isn’t overnight charging” and proposes the expansion of Level 2 chargers to places like retail parking lots to alleviate this issue.
Revel, a company that transitioned from rental e-mopeds to for-hire electric cars, has opened a fast-charging station in Long Island City and plans to introduce 300 more chargers by 2025.
Despite these efforts, popular charging stations like Kennedy Airport are experiencing significant wait times, becoming a considerable challenge for Uber, Lyft, and taxi drivers, who must wait two to three hours to charge their vehicles.