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As EVs become more efficient and widespread, applications for the technology grow. At first, the only electric vehicles were compact cars. But now, cargo vans, pickups, street sweepers, and garbage trucks compose the latest fleet of New York City EVs. So why is NYC switching to electric city vehicles?

The list of New York EVs continues to grow

New York City EVs Mack electric garbage truck
A Mack LR Electric garbage truck in New York City | Mack Trucks

New York City is set to spend $10.1 million for 925 new EVs to add to and replace some of the city’s vehicle fleet. The purchase includes 25 plug-in hybrid street sweepers and seven fully electric Mack garbage trucks for the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY). Additionally, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) will receive electric cargo vans and pickups, including trucks for law enforcement. 

Overall, New York City plans to purchase “382 Chevy Bolts, 360 Ford E-Transit vans, and 150 Ford F-150 Lightning pickup trucks” in addition to the DSNY vehicles, DCAS Commissioner Dawn Pinnock told amNY. The city tested the garbage truck model in a pilot program before purchasing seven others and already uses over 200 Ford Mustang Mach-E crossovers and “nearly 850 Chevy Bolts.” Also, the city’s corrections department is awaiting the delivery of its first three electric buses.

Why is New York switching to EVs?

The most significant reason for switching New York City’s vehicle fleet to EVs is to reduce pollution, especially at the street level. An additional benefit is the quieter operation, especially for large vehicles like garbage trucks and street sweepers. However, the city government will likely see some reduction in operating costs, too. Of course, it helps that the U.S. Department of Transportation provided New York City with the $10.1 million to buy this latest round of EVs in the form of a federal grant. 

What is NYC’s electrification plan?

This latest round of purchases adds 925 EVs and 315 EV chargers to support the DCAS plan of employing over 5,000 EVs by June 2023. In addition, DCAS plans to deploy 600 new EV charging stations, including the 315 mentioned above, in the next six months, bringing the department’s total to 1,300 charging ports citywide. Upcoming EV orders include box trucks and garbage trucks for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Also, additional orders for electric cars will replace gas cars in various departments. 

Overall, New York City operates approximately 24,000 vehicles to support its infrastructure, including law enforcement, sanitation, utilities, and public transportation. About 6,000 of those vehicles are pickup trucks and vans. While this latest order of 360 Ford E-Transit vans and 150 Ford F-150 Lightning trucks represents about 8.5% of the city’s pickup truck and van fleet, DCAS goals include transitioning to “an all-electric light- and medium-duty fleet by 2035.”

With 24,000 city vehicles on the streets of New York City, the overall order of 925 EVs is a small drop in a large bucket. However, the city is ahead of its “2025 goal of transitioning 4,000 vehicles in the city fleet to electric,” completing that milestone in September 2022.


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