As we transition to a zero-emission driving future, developing a robust and accessible EV charging infrastructure for both consumers and fleets will be critical, especially in big cities.

So, to help New York meet this challenge, utility supplier Con Edison is also transforming itself into a clean energy powerhouse, and setting an example for cities across the country.

Like many cities, New York is preparing for a sharp increase in electric vehicle registrations over the next ten years. The task of supplying electricity to support those EV’s falls to Con Edison. They’re one of the nation’s largest energy companies, delivering electricity, natural gas and steam to 3.5 million customers in New York City and Westchester County.

Con Edison’s fleet of service vehicles are a common sight around New York, but they are taking on a new look…

FORTUNATO GULINO: “We have approximately 2000 light duty vehicles which will be, uh, fully electrified, uh, by 2035; uh, and the remainder of approximately 3000 vehicles, uh, will be medium and heavy-duty electrification, or some other, uh, greenhouse-lowering technology.”

Con Edison now buys only electric vehicles for its light-duty fleet, but moving away from fossil fuels is a more challenging task for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles due to their size and operational needs.

This all-electric bucket truck from Terex is just starting a three-year field trial with Con Edison.

FORTUNATO GULINO: “The range on this specific vehicle is approximately 130 miles, but what’s unique about this vehicle is it’s got two battery systems. They’re independent of each other. It’s about a 210 kilowatt hour battery for the truck, which gives you 130 mile range, and then you have approximately 30 kilowatt hour battery to operate the actual aerial unit behind me. And that will probably provide you, uh, 2 shift operation, or about 16 hours of operations of… of bucket use.”

Con Edison’s on-the-job experience with this and other service vehicles also provides invaluable feedback to the truck manufacturers, as they continue developing zero-emission medium and heavy duty trucks in the future.

On the consumer side, Con Edison has instituted several programs to encourage EV ownership:

Smartcharge New York is a program that offers cash incentives for charging at off-peak times in New York City and Westchester. This reduces stress on the energy grid and makes service more reliable for everyone.

AMELIA BERMAN: “EV drivers love this, because they’re getting money to charge at off-peak times. It’s also great for our grid, because we have to make less investments in our power system, so ultimately it’s going to be lower energy bills for everybody.”

Con Edison is helping expand access to curbside EV chargers across the city by partnering with the NYC Department of Transportation and FLO, one of North America’s largest EV charging networks.

Power-ready offers incentives that can offset the costs for installing level 2 or DC fast charging stations at commercial facilities, parking lots and multifamily residential properties.

AMELIA BERMAN: “It’s really important that as you drive around, you see that there are publicly accessible chargers. Drivers are going to feel more comfortable in buying or purchasing their first electric vehicle. Uh, we’ve installed 3000 chargers so far, and we’re going to install 19,000 by 2025, and, fingers crossed, 400,000 by 2035.”

Smart civic planning and aggressive implementation are keys for any community to stay ahead of the electric vehicle curve. We’ll be keeping a keen eye on Con Edison as their clean energy vision becomes reality.