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On the Road to Clean Transportation

New York Power Authority Clean Transportation Update                              September 2008

Greetings from the New York Power Authority!

Welcome to another edition of the New York Power Authority’s (NYPA) Clean Transportation Update. We wanted to share a few highlights from our year thus far… 

From Small EVs, Big Green Message

Afternoons in Astoria Park in Queens are a little more clean and serene after the arrival of nine new electric vehicles that replace seven gasoline- and diesel-powered utility models.  At a park ceremony April 9 on a scenic stretch along the East River, NYPA officials were joined by Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and others to announce the project—the fifth and final initiative of the multi-year Queens Clean Air Project (Q-CAP) designed to improve air quality in Queens. 

Image of six passenger GEM in Astoria ParkThe new vehicles gracing the 65-acre park include two six-passenger GEM models to carry workers and maintenance equipment over the park's long, narrow paths; two new electric Toro Workman utility vehicles to carry mulch, wood chips and bulk supplies; and two long-body GEM trucks to carry blowers, trimmers and related bulky maintenance equipment. Three EZ-GO multi-purpose trucks will complete the array of clean- and quiet-running plug-in electric vehicles. 

Air pollution from utility trucks in enclosed green spaces like Astoria Park is particularly problematic because of the large number of children who frequent parks. Over the expected 10-year life of the new vehicles, the Parks Department will save 8,210 gallons of gasoline and reduce emissions by 153 tons- equivalent to eliminating 118 passenger cars from local roads. 

(Our $2 million investment in Q-CAP is the result of an agreement reached with the Queens Borough president and others in connection with the construction of our 500-Megawatt Combined-Cycle Power Plant in Astoria. The Q-CAP partnership previously completed four projects that, together, reduce air emissions, improve energy efficiency and save fuel. The previous projects include a green roof on Silvercup Studios in Long Island City; 50 solar-powered trash compactors installed throughout the borough; electric ground support equipment at La Guardia Airport (see September 2007 Issue) and emission control devices on 65 sanitation trucks operating on residential streets in Northwest Queens.) 
 

NYPA-Funded CAT on the Prowl in Hunts Point

Several years ago, in line with a commitment to deploy electric and hybrid-electric vehicles throughout New York to help improve air quality, we contributed $300,000 toward the purchase of five hybrid-electric shuttle buses for the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (BOEDC). After rigorous testing, those investments have borne fruit…err kittens. The Hunts Point Clean Air Transportation (HPCAT) Shuttle Service is now rolling with a long-awaited free service carrying workers in Hunts Point to and from work in an area underserved by transportation options. All this, with the added benefit of reduced emissions, and the shuttle is a hit.

Hunts Point air quality is a major concern. Because of the convergence of the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center and the nearby Bruckner and Sheridan Expressways, the area receives more than 11,000 diesel trucks daily. A BOEDC newsletter reports that asthma rates for Hunts Point children are seven times the national average, with asthma hospitalizations among the highest in the city.  

Manufactured by Azure Dynamics, the hybrid buses operate seven hours daily on 30-minute loops. The 20-passenger buses are the first hybrids in their vehicle class. They emit up to 30 percent less greenhouse gas, while using up to 40 percent less fuel than traditional buses. Hybrid systems achieve the greatest fuel savings on stop-and-go urban routes, so this application is a good fit for the buses.
 
Workers who until now had to walk 20 minutes or more, or take expensive cabs from subway stations, are delighted with the new service. Well over 300 employees from more than 30   companies have registered to ride, and BOEDC has received a strong positive reaction. 

Image of Hunts Point Shuttle Carrying Passengers“The shuttle bus is providing a vital service to the working class people in this neighborhood,” said Tim Vose of Down East Seafood.  “We’re so isolated over here… When we worked late, we had no alternative but to call a cab.”

Three “CATs” will service the area's workers for three years, free of charge. Two more will replace vans used by local non-profit organizations. Now that’s something to purr about!
 

Increasing Popularity of Hybrid Vehicles Boost Year End Tallies

Our 2007 Electric Drive Vehicle Report on electric and hybrid-electric vehicles highlighted a whopping 40 percent increase in annual vehicle usage last year and more than 2 million miles of drive-time logged. One hundred and thirty new vehicles, representing a variety of hybrid and all-electric models, were placed into service last year and contributed to the high usage and mileage figures.

Image of Ford Escape Hybrid The year end numbers bring the cumulative total of electric-drive vehicles in our own fleet and in our customers’ fleets to 970, and the total number of miles traveled to 8.6 million.

Hybrid-electric passenger cars represent approximately 16% of the 970 vehicles included in the report, but they have logged 35% of the 8.6 million miles traveled. And it is clear that hybrids are a first choice for new vehicle purchases.  

We’re currently at work on a number of other exciting electric transportation projects, which we can’t wait to tell you about. Stay tuned for our next update.