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As NYC’s fleet of electric Uber, Lyft and Revel cars grows, fears rise charging network won’t meet demand

New York Daily News

As New York’s fleet of Uber, Lyft and other for-hire vehicles moves toward a zero-emission mandate by 2030, concerns are growing that the number of car charging stations popping up across the five boroughs won’t be enough to meet driver demand.

The problem may become more acute as the city Taxi and Limousine Commission eliminates its limit on the number of electric vehicles that operate as app-based rideshares.

Of the 78,000 cars currently authorized by TLC as app-based rideshares, roughly 2,200 are electric vehicles, TLC data shows. The TLC expects the fleet to be 25% electrified by the end of 2026. If that happens, roughly 19,500 electric for-hire vehicles will be on the street.

All of them will be hungry for scarce electric chargers, say researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. “[T]he existing charging network in New York City is not adequate even in the most optimistic scenario,” researchers with the two agencies said in an April 2022 study.

“[A]lthough charging is demanded in areas nearby high trip demand, fast charging ports are also demanded in areas near driver residences as a supplement for home charging in scenarios with limited overnight charging access,” the study says.

By the time the electric for-hire fleet hits 21,000 cars — a benchmark the TLC hopes to achieve by 2027 — the city will need more than 1,000 direct-current “fast chargers” capable of topping up a car’s battery in 20 minutes to an hour would be required citywide, the study says.

That’s a lot more than the number of fast chargers now available.

The city currently has 187 direct-current fast chargers, distributed among 38 charging stations citywide, according to state government data.