NYPA Press Release

NYPA Supports Electrification of NYC Buses with $39M Overhead Electric Bus Charger Infrastructure Project

For Immediate Release: May 26, 2021

Contacts: Lynne Smith; Lynne.Smith@nypa.gov (914) 346-4656

More than 50 Overhead Chargers to be Installed in Four NYC Bus Depots, supporting New York State’s Goals to Electrify Public Bus Fleets and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions


The New York Power Authority has finalized a $39 million agreement to install more than 50 overhead chargers to power new electric buses that will be coming next year to four Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) depots in New York City. The new infrastructure is part of MTA’s plan to upgrade its facilities to support its commitment to purchase only electric buses starting in 2028 and to have an all-electric 5,800-bus fleet by 2040 – supporting Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s objective to increase the number of electric buses in New York and for the five largest transit operators to electrify 100 percent of their fleets by 2035 as announced in the 2021 State of the State address. This announcement also supports the Governor’s nation-leading climate leadership and clean energy goals in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.


“The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is leading the way in transitioning to zero-emission public transit and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said NYPA President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones. “Modernizing our public transportation infrastructure is a significant step toward the full electrification of the transportation sector that will remove polluting vehicles from our roadways. Together with the MTA, we will promote a cleaner environment, improve public health and ensure a sustainable future for all New Yorkers.”  


MTA officials announced yesterday that its procurement for electric buses will increase 33 % this year – from 45 to 60 buses. Expanding electric bus usage is among a series of state initiatives to assist in mitigating climate change, create healthier communities, improve air quality, and boost access to clean transportation in underserved communities.


“This is exactly the kind of investment New York needs to build back better at this critical moment for the state and nation, and it solidifies the MTA’s status as the transit agency most dedicated to protecting the environment,” said Janno Lieber, MTA Construction and Development president. “Modernizing our infrastructure in this way will have far reaching impacts that can help address overdue challenges of social equity and climate change.”

NYPA will provide and install overhead electric bus charging infrastructure for 45 buses at four MTA bus locations: Charleston in Staten Island, East New York in Brooklyn, Grand Avenue in Queens and Kingsbridge in Manhattan. An on-street pantograph (a device mounted on an overhead structure that mates with electrical contacts on the bus’ roof to deliver power) at Williamsburg Bridge Plaza in Brooklyn will also be replaced. On-street pantographs provide enough charge during the drivers’ rest periods to keep the bus operating for two full shifts per day.


Work includes design, permitting, and providing and installing 53 overhead direct current fast chargers (DCFC) and related pantographs and gantry support systems. The overhead chargers will allow interoperability between buses from different manufacturers.


Design and engineering work began this month on the MTA depots with construction expected to start in the fall of 2021. Two different vendors have been contracted to help complete the project: ABM and Verdek. Charging hardware will be supplied by ABB and Siemens. The project is expected to be completed within a year.

The overhead chargers will have power levels ranging from 150 kW – 300 kW and the on-street charger will be 500 kW. The chargers will be operational for the launch of the MTA’s next round of electric buses set to arrive as part of the fleet in Q3 2022. MTA and its operator the New York City Transit (NYCT) is one of the leading operators of electric buses in the state with about 25 buses and a pending order for 60 more. Funding has been approved for an additional 500 in the agency’s 2020-2024 capital plan.

John Markowitz, NYPA’s director of e-Mobility Technology and Engineering, noted that the MTA’s work, as well as an ongoing project with Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) in Buffalo, are the first and only pantograph bus charging projects (in bus depots) in the Northeast. Several agencies have existing on-street pantograph bus chargers. NYPA is working with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to help five large upstate and suburban transit operators develop plans to convert to all-electric transit buses, including Suffolk County, Westchester County, CDTA (Albany), RTS (Rochester) and NFTA (Buffalo). Last fall, the agencies oversaw the installation of four chargers for Rochester-based Regional Transit Service (RTS).


Over the past three decades, NYPA has completed 194 energy-efficiency projects at MTA sites throughout New York City and Westchester, generating approximately $31 million a year in savings and avoiding almost 96,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Projects include lighting, HVAC upgrades, infrastructure updates, energy audits, solar and energy storage.

For more information about NYPA’s fleet electrification program, contact evolveny@nypa.gov.


About NYPA

NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the nation, operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. More than 80 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. NYPA uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. For more information visit www.nypa.gov and follow us on Twitter @NYPAenergy, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and LinkedIn.