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PR- 010-10
January 11, 2010


Study Finds Early Adopters are Ready to Embrace Electric Vehicles, Alter Driving Habits;

Up To 16% of New Vehicles Bought by New Yorkers Could Be Electric by 2015

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the results of a study of what City government and other sectors can do to foster the usage of electric vehicles and what factors would lead New Yorkers to drive them. The study, developed in partnership with McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, found ways to facilitate adoption of this technology in the short-term. Transportation emissions currently account for 22 percent of New York City’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Use of electric vehicles is one way to reduce the emissions from transportation and meet the ambitious greenhouse gas and pollutant reductions established in PlaNYC , the City’s long-term vision for a greener, greater New York.

"Before we pursue a transportation strategy that embraces electric vehicles, we need to see data on who would use them, and how," said Mayor Bloomberg. "We now know for the first time what the electric vehicle market in New York City looks like – from the supply side and the demand side. Now we can make informed choices that will help us reduce pollution and emissions in the most efficient way."

"We can reduce transportation emissions by taking mass transit, walking or riding a bike, but we will still use automobiles for years to come," said Sustainability Director Rohit T. Aggarwala. "New York City isn’t like a lot of other places - many people don’t own a car, and those that do often don’t have access to a place they could charge a car battery. This study helps us think about the nuts and bolts of how government, auto manufacturers, utilities, and others will support a new type of vehicle on City streets."

"We are greening the City’s municipal vehicle fleet to make our streets more sustainable, but we also need to lay the groundwork for a cleaner alternative to the City’s nearly two million registered vehicles," said Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. "We will continue to make needed transit and mobility enhancements today even as we develop the technological infrastructure needed for the City’s next generation of low-emission vehicles."

The study found that there is a potentially large group of New Yorkers in all five boroughs, who are willing to change their behavior to accommodate electric vehicles and become "early adopters." Market research projects that by 2015, up to 16 percent of all new vehicles purchased by New Yorkers could be electric.

The study found that early adopters are willing to change their habits to adapt to an electric vehicle, including switching from an on-street parking space to a parking garage that has a charging station. The research also found that consumers’ attitudes, rather than their driving or parking behaviors, are strong indications of their willingness to adopt electric vehicles.

Early adopters also understand that electric vehicles will cost more than a comparable gasoline-powered vehicle – and they appear willing to pay that premium for the benefits that electric vehicles will offer them. This suggests that in the short-term tax incentives may not be necessary to attract additional demand.

Manufacturers have announced more than a dozen highway-capable electric vehicle models for introduction between 2010 and 2012, in limited global production. Because the demand of early adopters is projected to outstrip the available supply of electric vehicles to the New York market for the next five years, the study suggests targeting early adopters and delaying a focus on the "average driver" for several years.

Ways to help early adopters enter the electric vehicle market include providing clear information on the benefits and challenges of using an electric vehicle and developing a convenient and easy-to-understand process to install charging equipment.

The study also found that the projected level of adoption of electric vehicles will not unduly tax the electrical grid as long as most chargers are configured to allow charging to take place during off-peak hours.


Stu Loeser / Jason Post   (212) 788-2958

More Resources
Download PlaNYC Study of the Future of Electric Vehicles in NYC (in PDF)