New York Power Authority and DaimlerChrysler Team To Put Zero Emission Vehicles on SUNY Campuses

Brian Warner

July 29, 2003

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                       

ALBANY—New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Eugene W. Zeltmann, joined  New York State University Chancellor Robert King  at the SUNY Albany  campus  today to introduce new GEM  neighborhood electric vehicles donated through a joint NYPA, DaimlerChrysler program which will place 300 zero-emission vehicles in service at more than 40 locations around New York State.

Global Electric Motorcars (GEM), a DaimlerChrysler subsidiary, has established a donation program in cooperation with NYPA to help state and local government agencies, public parks, state universities and colleges, and other non-profit organizations use non-polluting electric vehicles in an effort to promote clean air and reduce noise pollution.

“I'm proud of  NYPA’s role in encouraging the use of electric vehicles and thank Daimler-Chrysler for working with us to  improve the environment by expanding the use of alternative energy sources,” said Governor George E. Pataki. “I applaud this effort and encourage all participants to maximize the benefits of these vehicles.”

“The Power Authority has joined forces with GEM because low-speed neighborhood electric vehicles are the perfect match for many of our public sector customers.  These cars will replace an array of combustion powered vehicles now operating in parks, college campuses, and village squares.” said Eugene W. Zeltmann, NYPA president and chief executive officer.

“Many of the local governments participating in the donation program will either share or donate a GEM to a non-profit, community-based organization serving their locality,” Zeltmann said.  

“The use of these donated GEM cars on SUNY campuses will reduce by thousands of pounds of  emissions and help to protect the environment,” said Chancellor King. “It will also help SUNY control costs by eliminating the use of more than 15,000 gallons of gasoline per year.” 

“As the largest electric vehicle producer in the United States we’re happy to expand in the New York market. In addition to zero emissions, the GEM offers lower maintenance costs, greater efficiency and the ability to operate on narrow thoroughfares such as park paths and campus roadways,” said Rick Kasper, GEM president.

The State University of New York (SUNY) is the single largest recipient through the NYPA/GEM donation program with 130 electric cars for use at 26 campuses; from Alfred in the Southern Tier to Plattsburgh in the North Country and Stony Brook on Long Island.  The state university complexes at Buffalo and Albany will each receive ten vehicles; smaller campuses will receive fewer vehicles.

The GEM, smaller than a “normal” automobile, is a five horsepower, two-and-four passenger vehicle with a top speed of about 25 miles per hour. It meets both National Highway Safety Administration and New York State traffic safety standards for use on private property and public roads with speed limits up to 35 miles per hour. The vehicles are equipped with three-point seat belts, safety-glass windshield, wipers, headlights, turn signals, and mirrors.

In addition to the 26 SUNY colleges, other participants in the NYPA/GEM program include:

Westchester County government 
City University of New York
Battery Park City Authority
Hudson River Park Trust 
Wildlife Conservation Society [New York Aquarium & Bronx Zoo]
Hunts Point Cooperative Market
Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation
Town of Harrison
Village of Ossining
Town of Mount Pleasant
City of White Plains
City of Mount Vernon
City of New Rochelle
City of Peekskill
Village of Briarcliff Manor
Village of Tuckahoe
RAIN [a Bronx-based community outreach service]

NYPA is among the national leaders in promoting electric drive vehicles and have previously placed more than 360 vehicles in service with customer fleets. NYPA electric transportation projects include electric station cars for commuters, all electric school buses, small urban electric vehicles as well as electric delivery trucks.  It is the nation’s largest supplier of electricity for public transportation, supplying the power for New York City commuter and subway trains.