City green fleet gets spotlight

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The mayor unveiled the largest addition of electric vehicles yet to the city’s fleet when he visited a city Sanitation Department repair depot on 58th Street in Maspeth Tuesday.

The 70 new vehicles will be used by several city agencies for non-emergency purposes and can be refueled at 70 charging points on city property. They will run 75 percent cleaner than traditional combustion engines and can travel up to 300 miles on a single charge for less than $5, according to the city.

“New York City uses more than 360 vehicles, more than any other American city,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, speaking in front of several electric cars at a Sanitation repair shop between 52nd Street and 53rd Avenue.

The city’s electric fleet now totals 430 and, according to Bloomberg, will provide tangible benefits for taxpayers.

The city had to pay for many of the electric cars, but any cost that exceeds the price of a normal vehicle will be subsidized by the federal government. Ten of the vehicles were leased for $1 per year for two years.

But the city predicted that the cars would be in use for far longer.

“Because they have less moving parts, we expect them to last longer,” Bloomberg said.

In addition, the cars will only be driven up to 35 miles a day, which means they will not have to rely on gas at all. Each of the 50 Chevrolet Volts is projected to save 4,000 gallons of gas over its lifetime, which equates to $15,000 in savings, according to Bloomberg, who also noted the cars will generate less excess heat energy and noise pollution.

The acquisition of the electric vehicles also fit into the mayor’s PlaNYC 2030, an overall blueprint to make the city greener by 2030.

“This is a great illustration of how we are achieving the initiatives of PlaNYC,” said David Bragdon, director of long-term planning and sustainability for the mayor’s office.

Bragdon hoped the acquisition of the fleet would also encourage residents to purchase electric vehicles as well and announced that the city launched an informational site on to foster awareness.

But for now, the electric fleet will be used by the FDNY and NYPD for non-emergency purposes as well as by the Citywide Administrative Services, Corrections, Environmental Protection, Parks, Sanitation and Transportation departments and the Taxi & Limousine Commission.

The mayor also hopes to begin testing electric taxies by 2017.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Updated 11:30 am, October 12, 2011
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