Readying New York City for electric vehicle use at scale

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NYC DOT worked with Newlab to further the city’s mission to install 10,000 curbside EV chargers by the year 2030
  • 80+
    startups considered
  • 3
    startups enabled to participate in real-world pilots
  • 4
    EV charge points installed around NYC for testing
Cost-effective and scalable curbside charging is an absolute necessity. The best way to get there is to start with pilots.
Seth Contreras
Advisor for Innovation Policy, Department of Transportation, New York City


The New York City Department of Transportation’s (NYC DOT) mission is to provide for the safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible movement of people and goods in the City of New York. The organization has 5,500 employees and an annual operating budget of $1 billion. 

A collaboration between the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT), the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and Newlab, the DOT Studio is focused on applying emerging technologies to advance planning, policy, operations, and real-time management of transportation across New York City in line with the City’s Vision Zero and sustainability goals.

The Challenge

At least 50% of the 1.8 million passenger vehicles in New York City today are parked on streets. To prepare for mass EV adoption and further its zero-emissions vision, NYC DOT set targets of installing 1,000 L2 curbside chargers by 2025 and 10,000 L2 curbside chargers by 2030.

DOT partnered with Newlab to better understand how early-stage startups and innovators are already addressing these challenges and to leverage the learnings from real-world pilots with leading technologies to inform the City’s curbside EV charger strategy. With deep access to innovative startups working on energy and mobility challenges, Newlab conducted an analysis of the problem and uncovered some general guidelines for an optimal solution tailored to New York City’s needs:

  • Curbside chargers in urban areas must be designed to be minimally invasive and leverage existing street infrastructure, where possible
  • Chargers must be convenient to use and accessible to all who own electric vehicles
  • Solutions should consider business models that enable cost-sharing and that are easy to install at scale to serve a city population

The Results

Through an in-depth research sprint, Newlab worked closely with DOT and EDC to develop a set of solution parameters that guided the recruitment of startups globally with solutions designed to serve the growing need for public electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions. Newlab identified 80 startups with high-impact solutions to address this need, and through a rigorous review process, narrowed down the final Studio cohort to three companies that were chosen to pilot their technologies across New York City.

Working together with DOT and each startup, we designed pilot projects to test how each technology would actually perform in a simulated New York City context. We also designed measurement techniques and success metrics for each solution to understand how they fit the specific parameters that DOT was seeking. Through our experiences navigating the site selection process, preparing and installing the pilots, and measuring the results of the tests through user feedback and KPIs, Newlab was effectively able to provide key insights and outcomes to inform how the City might scale public EV charging in conjunction with its goal of reaching zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Quick Stats

The Pilot:

Connected Kerb,, and Voltpost were selected to run pilots for NYC DOT.

The Pilots:

Connected Kerb,, and Voltpost were selected to run pilots for NYC DOT.
Connected Kerb
Designs and implements a two-part, on-street residential EV charging technology.
Testing a modular, in-ground solution with user-supplied cords at Brooklyn Navy Yard.
After Connected Kerb adapted its system and app for usage in North America, it set up shop at Newlab’s Brooklyn Navy Yard facility. On Newlab grounds, Connected Kerb installed two chargers, for a total of four charge points. The team then hosted user testing sessions with local EV drivers who tested the charging stations and provided input on the tech and user experience. During the pilot, Connected Kerb was able to showcase its unique charging units, IoT sensors, and in-house site selection tool to DOT officials and other interested stakeholders. Based on the pilot results, Newlab and DOT staff provided weekly check-ins and advised Connected Kerb (CK) on how best to move forward with its product in NYC. The partnership provided invaluable feedback for both parties.
Builds EV charging solutions, including a lamppost charger that utilizes street infrastructure.
Retrofitting streetlights in NYC with a user-supplied cord solution
The DOT team installed a streetlight in their facility lot in Queens, which was then retrofitted to affix a charge point to the streetlight pole. DOT staff visited the pilot to learn more about how the product works and provide feedback to the team on design and functionality. The team also issued a survey to NYC EV drivers to get a better understanding of their key concerns and unmet needs when it comes to charging their vehicles.
Voltpost is on a mission to decarbonize mobility by democratizing charging access. We do this by retrofitting lampposts into a modular electric vehicle charging platform managed by a mobile application.
Retrofitting streetlights in NYC with an integrated cable solution by installing a prototype at a DOT facility lot in Staten Island
The team installed the first Voltpost prototype in the Newlab building during NYC Climate Week in 2022 and received constructive feedback from the 100+ demos given to stakeholders and New Yorkers. The second Voltpost prototype was installed in a Staten Island DOT facility lot, where the charger was tested with an electric vehicle. DOT observed the process closely and provided feedback to inform product refinement. The charger was used on a daily basis and the team extended the DOT pilot at the Staten Island lot through the winter to gather further charging data.

We also conducted pilots with:

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The Outcomes

Valuable insights for the future of EV charging

In all, Newlab was able to run three real-world pilots, in coordination with NYC DOT, that unlocked valuable insights to help guide the future of EV charging in NYC. Insights included:

  • The importance of integrated metering
  • The limitations of present-day charging solutions
  • The impact of incorporating both user-supplied and tethered cord solutions

Through engagement with these pilots, NYC DOT had the unique opportunity of understanding how innovative charging solutions might apply in a real New York City context and the benefits and challenges that exist with implementing new solutions. DOT leveraged these insights to inform its long-term EV charging strategy, and even codified some of the learnings in its RFEI for Electric Vehicle Chargers, which was released in September 2023 and will likely be a precursor to future RFPs. Several of the companies engaged in the Studio applied for the RFEI. 

Since the pilots, all three startups have continued to grow and advance their solutions, with their learnings serving as valuable insight along the way.

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