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New York adds 70 electric vehicles to city fleets

City also offers free screening of "Revenge of the Electric Car" and public education initiative for New Yorkers to make informed choices about car purchases.

Candace Lombardi
In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.
Candace Lombardi
2 min read
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (at podium) with New York City Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty (far left) and Citywide Administrative Services Commissioner Edna Wells Handy (left). Chevrolet/Emile Wamsteker

Some of New York City's finest will soon be driving some of New York City's cleanest vehicles.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Tuesday from a press conference in Queens that the city is adding 70 electric vehicles to its municipal fleets.

New York City departments participating include: Citywide Administrative Services, Correction, Environmental Protection, Parks and Recreation, Sanitation, Transportation, Fire, Police, and the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

The addition of the 70 electric vehicles--50 of them Chevy Volts--will bring the city's EV total up to 430 vehicles.

This latest move is part of New York's push to curb pollution from its municipal fleets and lead by example the city's overall push to meet PlaNYC, the city's sustainability plan that includes improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The plan was implemented partially in response to the discovery that New York City transportation contributes 20 percent of the city's total CO2 emissions, the largest source of air pollution after the city's buildings.

In conjunction with the announcement, the city also held a preview screening in Central Park on Tuesday night of the new documentary "Revenge of the Electric Car," which covers how EVs work and follows people currently pushing for their adoption into mainstream driving.

Research conducted on behalf of the city by McKinsey & Company found that only 30 percent of New Yorkers understood the basics of electric vehicle technology, use, benefits, and limitations. It also found that 21 percent of consumers were more likely to purchase an EV once they understood how the vehicles worked and refueled.

"When provided with the facts, people become far more likely to choose an electric vehicle. Our job is to ensure the public has the facts, ensure they can make their own decisions and ensure that if they want to drive an electric vehicle, we are providing the infrastructure needed," Mayor Bloomberg said during the press conference.

In particular, the mayor's office offered a response to one common complaint that a plethora of EVs could put a strain on the electric grid.

"By the most optimistic estimates, electric vehicles will represent 0.6 percent of total energy consumption by 2015. If 70 percent of all electric vehicles plugged in at the same time during the peak period, it would increase demand by less than two percent," according to the statement from the mayor's office.