Where Are the Charging Stations? Driving an EV in NYC Might Leave You Stranded

NYC; the Big Apple; the city that never sleeps; is also where you can’t find a charging station for your electric vehicle. You would think that a massive city with 8 million residents would have ample locations for EV charging, but that’s simply not the case.

Ingenuity becomes the mother of necessity without charging stations

Imagine living in the massive city that is New York with its vertical real estate. This concrete jungle is short on parking, which is why many New Yorkers choose to use public transportation as their primary means. Even though many use buses, subways, and taxis, the city streets fill with cars in gridlock every day with those that choose to drive themselves around.

The lack of parking in this expansive city is only one part of the trouble facing New Yorkers. Those that want to own EVs have trouble doing so. According to the New York Times, an interesting scenario unfolded in front of Hank Gutman, who served as New York’s transportation commissioner last summer.

The strangest way to charge an electric vehicle

Charging EV with Extension Cord because of lack of charging stations
Charging EV with Extension Cord | Shutterstock Images

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Gutman witnessed a couple in the Bronx running an extension cord from their apartment window across the sidewalk to their Nissan Leaf. There are two glaring problems with this situation. First, the fact that this was how the couple had to charge their electric car because of the shortage of charging stations. Second, the extension cord is the slowest way to charge any EV.

Someone must do something.

Where are all the charging stations in New York City?

This is the question you’ll ask yourself if you travel to this massive city in your EV. So far, there aren’t very many public chargers, but that is about to change. Although the initial goal of more chargers was 120 over the course of four years, Mr. Gutman prioritized this issue to make quick changes. In Gutman’s words, the addition of 120 new chargers in a city of more than 8 million people is, “pathetic,” and more needs to be done.

The numbers are in, and they don’t look good for EVs

Public EV Charging Stations
Public EV Charging Stations | Wiki Commons Image by Elgaard

A Transportation Department report issued in September shows the need for a much more ambitious plan to fix the current problems EV drivers face in NYC. The city needs to immediately install nearly 20,000 new charging stations across all five boroughs (not just the 120 originally planned for Manhattan). This will bring the city closer to the availability of public chargers that California and some major European cities offer.

The movement forward doesn’t stop with the first 20,000 EV chargers. Before the end of the decade, the grand total of public charging stations in New York City needs to be at 400,000 to reach the long-term carbon target and become a more welcoming city for EV drivers.

Where should drivers find charging stations in NYC?

New York City Sunset might not be as enjoyable if you can't find a charging station for your EV
New York City Sunset | Getty Images

Before the end of 2025, drivers should find 1,000 new curbside chargers. That number will increase to 10,000 by 2030. The rest of the EV chargers will be in municipal parking lots and parking garages. In fact, 20 percent of all public parking areas will be for electric vehicles once the city completes this new aggressive plan.

The swift change for EV charging for New York

It’s hard to say why New York City was so far behind most of the country regarding the number of public charging stations. NYC ranked 93 out of 100 metro areas in EV car culture. This new plan will change this and make the city much more accommodating for drivers of electric vehicles. Once the city has the new chargers, you won’t feel like you might get stranded and probably won’t see anyone running an extension cord out of their apartment window.

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