NYC Fleet Driving the Road to Sustainability

June 1, 2018

New York City has always been one of the nation’s leaders when it comes to fleet sustainability efforts. The New York City Fleet (NYC Fleet) is operating what is probably the widest variety of alternative power vehicles and technologies in the nation. From electric, to natural gas, to hybrids, to biodiesel, to renewable fuels including renewable diesel, and even solar power – if a viable fleet technology is available, there is a good chance the city’s diverse fleets have tested and incorporated it.

From electric, to natural gas, to hybrids, to biodiesel, to renewable fuels including renewable diesel, and even solar power – if a viable fleet technology is available, there is a good chance the city’s diverse fleets have tested and incorporated it.

Today, the NYC Fleet operates over 30,000 vehicles, making it the largest municipal fleet in the country. The fleet plays a critical role in supporting the provision of essential public services, with police cars, fire engines, sanitation waste units, buses, sweepers, forestry bucket trucks, street paving units and other equipment down to light-duty sedans.

The NYC Fleet, a line of service at the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), manages the fleet in conjunction with the 50-plus agencies that utilize city vehicles in their operations. This poses a challenge, as resources are within those individual agencies, and DCAS is tasked with running a common sustainability program and a common safety program amongst these agencies. DCAS credits the leadership from Mayor de Blasio and City Hall as very helpful in giving a clear direction for everyone to follow regarding sustainability in NYC.

NYC Fleet and Protecting the planet

There has been steady progress in NYC’s efforts to be the greenest city fleet in the nation. Back in 2015, DCAS put out a call to take green fleet initiatives to new and unprecedented levels, with the launch of the NYC Clean Fleet goals to cut vehicle emissions in half by 2025. Much of this will be accomplished by the expansion of the city’s electric vehicle fleet. These initiatives are tied directly to the New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability (MOS), guided by the OneNYC plan, 80×50 report, and Executive Order 26, working to minimize NYC’s contributions to climate change from the transportation, waste, energy and building sectors.

The NYC Fleet operates over 30,000 vehicles, making it the largest municipal fleet in the country. There has been steady progress in NYC’s efforts to be the greenest city fleet in the nation.

In 2014, NYC committed to reducing its GHG emissions 80 per cent by 2050, compared to 2005 levels. In 2015 the city released One New York: the Plan for A Strong and Just City (OneNYC). In 2016, the city released a report “New York City’s Roadmap to 80 x 50,” using the best available science and state-of-the-art analysis to identify strategies to clean the air, incorporate green energy, and send less waste to landfills.

In 2017, the day after President Trump announced his intention to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, Mayor de Blasio signed Executive Order 26, committing NYC to the principals of the Paris Agreement, including developing a pathway to limit global temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

MTA testing all electric buses

Not only the NYC Fleet, but the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is also moving NYC to a cleaner future with the addition of 110 compressed natural gas (CNG) buses, and the start of a three year pilot program testing 10 all-electric buses. The pilot program is intended to provide the MTA and manufacturers of electric buses with actionable data on what works best in New York’s metropolitan environment.

In another step towards aligning NYC’s action on climate change with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degree Celsius goal, late in 2017 Mayor de Blasio announced plans to significantly expand access to electric vehicle (EV) charging for residents by developing new fast charging stations across the city. To further spur the market for EVs, the City is making the commitment to establish 50 fast-charging hubs citywide by 2020, providing reliable access to high-speed charging for would-be EV drivers who lack other charging options. The lack of much needed public EV infrastructure has been a barrier towards getting residents of NYC to drive EVs. The installation of these charging hubs is heralded as a step in the right direction.

Clean trucks program

In addition to efforts from the NYC Fleet, there are programs such as the Hunts Point Clean Trucks Program (HPCTP), which is a first-come, first-served voluntary clean trucks program initiated by the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) to provide rebate incentives to private truck owners that are based and/or operate in the South Bronx communities of Hunts Point or Port Morris. The HPCTP incentive rebate funding is for the replacement of older Class 3 to Class 8 trucks with a model year 2016 or newer truck with a 2010 U.S. EPA emission compliant or newer diesel engine or alternative fuel engine (hybrid diesel-electric, compressed natural gas or battery electric truck). To date, the HPCTP has replaced, retrofitted or scrapped over 600 older polluting diesel trucks from the South Bronx and New York City. The HPCTP has distributed funding through Round 4, with the NYCDOT continuing to seek additional funding.

NYC wants to be one of the most sustainable cities in the world, continuing to green the NYC Fleet will greatly contribute to the reduction of emissions and greenhouse gases.

Unrelated to the HPCTP, but coming soon to the Hunts Point section of the Bronx, Clean Energy Fuels plans to open a new fast-fill CNG fueling station, slated to be open for business later this summer. This public CNG station will create options for truck owners who wish to incorporate CNG fueled trucks into their fleets.

NYC wants to be one of the most sustainable cities in the world, continuing to green the NYC Fleet will greatly contribute to the reduction of emissions and greenhouse gases. With the overarching goal of reducing the city’s contribution to climate change, the city knows that investing in clean technologies for the largest fleet in the country is the right road to travel.