Northeast alternative fuel manufacturers showcased in Queens

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On Sept. 22, 2021, flanked by the legendary Unisphere in Queens, Empire Clean Cities (ECC) held their 12th Annual Stakeholder Meeting in conjunction with the New York City’s 32nd Annual Equipment and Vehicle Show.

At the Annual Stakeholder Meeting, more than 125 ECC stakeholders convened to discuss alternative-fuel advancements and successes during the COVID-19 pandemic, the bright future of heavy-duty EV trucking, acquisition models for charging stations and more. NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) Commissioner Lisette Camilo kicked off the meeting with opening remarks on the City’s efforts to reduce transportation emissions.

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Following the Commissioner’s welcome, a panel discussion about novel ownership and financing models for medium- and heavy-duty (MDHD) plug-in vehicles commenced. Innovative financing models for electric MDHD vehicles are crucial as the upfront “cost of entry” for electrified trucks remains high, despite the clear long-term savings over diesel-powered vehicles.

Manhattan Beer Distributors’ Juan Corcino discussed his fleet’s successes in accessing funding for acquiring its own heavy-duty electric tractors—his fleet now has five in active service—alongside compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks, as well as plans to decrease the age and size of the fleet while phasing out diesel-powered trucks.

Meanwhile, Ikea’s Steven Moelk discussed their approach to integrating electric last-mile Class 4 delivery trucks into Ikea’s operations. Rather than owning the trucks, Ikea partners with online peer-to-peer truck rental platform Fluid Truck to gain access to their fleet of vehicles.

The Lion Electric Company’s Mark McGrew explained the EV bus, truck, and tractor manufacturer’s turn-key solution to acquiring and charging MDHD vehicles, simplifying the entire process for fleets.

Lastly, Via’s Joshua Goldman explained his firm’s approach of providing proprietary fleet management software which aims to optimize truck routes to maximize vehicle efficiency, as well as to allow for multi-fleet collaboration and consolidation.

The second panel, moderated by NYC Department of Transportation’s Mark Simon, focused on advancements in plug-in vehicle charging infrastructure and technology. In that panel, Amply Power’s Roger Slotkin, Revel’s Paul Suhey, Fermata’s John Wheeler and Flo’s Brookes Shean discussed the innovative charging solutions their firms are bringing to the table, including mobile, solar-powered and streetside charging stations, as well as vehicle-to-grid technology. Streetside EV charging stations will be a crucial aspect of New York City’s push to become a haven for EV drivers—many of whom don’t possess a garage in which to conduct home charging.

Additionally, honoree awards were announced in recognition of the recipients’ accomplishments in advancing alternative-fuel technologies and sustainability in the region. Juan Corcino was honored for his contributions to reducing vehicle emissions in Hunts Point—the site of NYC’s centralized food distribution center—and beyond. New York City Councilman James F. Gennaro was honored for a lifetime of environmental activism, including his work to advance Intro 455-2018 Version A, a bill that will require all school buses operating in the city be electric-powered by 2035.

Finally, ECC had the privilege of posthumously honoring John Shipman for his immeasurable contributions to addressing climate change through transportation and grid efficiency. He was a trusted colleague, advisor and friend to so many. We are honored to be able to do this as a small gesture to show our thanks and our admiration for his lifetime of work that will benefit not only New Yorkers, but the industry at large for generations to come. 

As the Empire Clean Cities Annual Stakeholder Meeting drew to a close, attendees were able to explore and network with the more than 150 exhibitors participating in NYC’s Annual Equipment and Vehicle Show.

Exhibitors showed off cutting edge fleet technology from PHEV ambulances to a fully electrified Mack Trucks LR Electric sanitation truck. Later in the Fleet Show, NYC DCAS Chief Fleet Officer and Deputy Commissioner Keith Kerman took the podium to announce a monumental new funding push for the further electrification of NYC’s fleet.

Kerman announced that $75 million in new funding would go towards purchasing new plug-in vehicles, retrofitting diesel vehicles with electric powertrains and expanding EV charging opportunities across the five boroughs.

The monumental investment will help support the City’s goal of transitioning to an all-electric fleet by 2040. Mayor Bill de Blasio commended the continued investment in clean fleet vehicles, stating that climate change “is an existential threat facing our city, our nation, and our world … you can count on New York City to lead the way when it comes to finding sustainable climate solutions, fighting back against global warming, and building a greener future for the next generation.”

With courageous funding pushes, innovative design, and partnerships with industry leaders, New York City remains poised to lead the nation’s metropolises in a just transition to zero-emissions transportation.

For more information, check out the City’s official press release and DCAS’s NYC Fleet homepage

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