Letters to the editor, Feb. 27

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Editor’s note: We recently received an unsigned letter in the mail from a Stuyvesant Town resident about quality of life issues. Unfortunately, we do not publish completely anonymous letters but wanted to give readers a reminder that a letter writer’s name can be withheld upon request, but the letter should still be signed.

Funding needed for Electric Vehicle charging

Assemblymember Harvey Epstein sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday, asking the mayor to make charging stations for Electric Vehicles (EV) more accessible for all New Yorkers because the stations are difficult to find throughout New York City, and adding infrastructure for EVs would encourage more New Yorkers to choose energy-efficient EVs over gasoline cars.

Dear Mayor Bill de Blasio,

I am writing to ask that you include funding for publicly-available charging stations to make Electric Vehicles (EV) more accessible for all New Yorkers. Cars are the largest source of greenhouse gases in the United States today and the vast majority of those emissions come from cars.

The scientist community has been warning us that in order to avoid the devastating effects of climate change, we need to have net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. But we are not even close to meeting that target. We have a federal government that still has doubts about climate change and pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement. New Yorkers can’t afford to wait for the White House to take action. Superstorm Sandy’s devastation is still fresh on our mind. It taught us that we are not invincible from the wrath of climate-related disasters. Our West Coast sibling California has been burning endlessly because of rising temperatures and a failure to invest in proper infrastructure.

Electric vehicles are seen as a luxury item. In order to reach our goals of having more EVs on the street to tackle rising CO2 emissions, the city should invest in more charging infrastructure to make EVs more accessible to New Yorkers from all walks of life.

I know that your office announced that the 2000 EVs would join the municipal fleet by 2025. But that won’t be enough to reduce auto emissions in New York. According to the Boston University Emissions database released in October, the New York metro area is the worst offender for driving-related CO2.

If we want more electric cars on the road, we need more infrastructure to be able to support them. The other big issue is having a place to park and charge. People with access to a garage, a driveway or both, make it easier for them to charge their vehicles at night. But as a city where the majority are renters, it’s impossible to find a parking spot with chargers. Researchers expect that by 2025, EVs will make up 9 percent of new car sales in New York.

The same report also projects that New York will need to add 35 percent more chargers every year to sustain the growth. Electric cars will continue to be seen as a liberal elitist item unless the government takes the bold steps necessary to make charging stations publicly available all over the city.

There are over 400 charging stations in New York City. None of them are publicly available on the streets of New York – they only exist in parking garages that you must pay to park in. You even have a charging station in city hall, however, the public can’t use it to charge their cars. As an owner of a plug-in, I can attest that finding a publicly available charging station is impossible in New York City. If we are ever going to make progress we must make it easier for all New Yorkers to feel comfortable purchasing electric vehicles. Governor Cuomo announced a new $250 million dollars electric vehicle expansion initiative. He also announced that the New York Power Authority will also work with the private sector to raise awareness about electric vehicles and build out more charging infrastructure at nearby airports. While this is the first good step, we need the city of New York to step up too. If we want to reach our zero-emission goal by 2050, the city government needs to act fast because climate change won’t slow down.

I hope that you can see the urgency in this matter and make the adjustment to the budget necessary to make New York City a leader in the fight against climate change. We look forward to hearing back from you by March 15 with your detailed plans.


Harvey Epstein
74th Assembly District

7 thoughts on “Letters to the editor, Feb. 27

  1. As an owner of a plug-in, I can attest that finding a publicly available charging station is impossible

    Nice to know he’s lobbying City Hall for his personal benefit.


  2. A lot of the new parking meters are already electrified in order to take credit cards. How hard would it be to increase their charge carrying capacity and equip them with charging plugs for EVs? Then, you could charge your car, at an extra cost if the city wants to recoup its cost, while parked at the meter.

    • EV chargers are classified into three categories: Level 1, Level 2 and direct current (DC) fast charging. One distinction between these three levels is the input voltage, Level 1 uses 110/120 volts, Level 2 uses 208/240 volts and DC fast chargers use between 200 and 600 volts.

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