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.
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:
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.
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:
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.