Frequently Asked Questions
Round III FAQs
We recognize that per the Challenge Rules the City reserves the right, at any point during the Challenge, to change any details about the Challenge as unforeseen circumstances arise. We noticed some changes from Round 2 to Round 3. Can you break those down?
Sure! Here are the major changes:
- Given the strength of the proposals and the number of teams that decided to apply to both Track 1 and Track 2, we collaposed the competition into a single track with 6 total finalists. We expect to have 1 winner announced from those 6 finalists.
- In accordance with the Challenge parameters, finalists may be awarded up to $13,000 in reimbursements for equipment required to install, field test, or visually demonstrate their proposals. Assistance with or travel costs or other expenses associated with the Challenge, if required are not qualifying reimbursements under this Challenge. In addition, no cash will be distributed in lieu of the award, and no substitution of award is permitted. Finalists should submit invoices by 5/31/2018 and complete the associated reimburasement form that will be provided by CTO team.
- We will announce winners in May instead of April to make more time to accommodate travel schedule and development of finalist demonstrations.
Round II FAQs
Does the City have a recommendation if my team partners with a specific ridesharing company?
We believe that meeting our bold climate goals will require decarbonizing the rideshare sector. If a team has a relationship or connection to a specific rideshare company or would like to partner with them in a submission, we’d welcome their proposal.
My team is trying to coordinate travel and availability in the event that we’re chosen as finalists. Can you talk through the exact dates and times for demos and presentations?
- Track 1: Up to three finalists will be announced near the middle of March 2018. They will then have about 1 month to work with the NYCx team to access specific installation sites, order equipment and materials, and design their demos. They will be reimbursed up to $20K for demo costs and will invoice those costs after demos have been completed. Since this will involve physical installations and demonstrations, we anticipate giving teams about one month to build out their demos and a few weeks to execute them, with the NYCx and other partners evaluating demo performance over that timeframe. Having technical experts from each team to operate the demos and answer questions will be crucial. The Track 1 winner should be announced by end of April.
- Track 2: Up to 3 finalists will be announced near the middle of March 2018. They will then have about one month to build out their proposals, with each presenting their plans to leadership across City Government, including Fleet, Sustainability, Transportation, Management and Budget and others. The winner of Track 2 will be announced by end of April and will be reimbursed $20K to further develop and expand their proposal and present a live demo bringing that proposal to life (e.g. virtual reality demo, charging demo, city-scale mock-up with adoption scenarios). The winner may have elements of their submission included in the City’s EV charging roadmap (currently in development).
The Track 1 and 2 winners may demonstrate something that could meet an existing procurement need. The NYCx team is working out those details and will have more information in the Spring.
Once dates are announced, if teams find that the timeline may be challenging because of travel or other considerations, the NYCx team is more than happy to update the piloting and presentation timelines to suit those needs.
I’m proposing a technology or solution that is really innovative but I don’t want to sacrifice my company’s trade secrets. How can I apply to the Challenge while still maintaining confidentiality of my R&D?
Great question. Our Challenges are designed to offer participants the flexibility and testbed to propose something innovative and breakthrough in a unique urban environment. While your submissions will be subject to Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests, you can mark the portions of responses containing trade secrets and other competitively sensitive information “PROPRIETARY AND CONFIDENTIAL”, which can be withheld from disclosure under FOIL.
It would not be productive to mark everything “PROPRIETARY AND CONFIDENTIAL.” A basic marketing pamphlet that is publicly accessible at trade shows would not qualify since it’s obviously not likely to cause “substantial injury to the competitive position” of your company if disclosed.
Are letters of support required for Track 1?
No, letters of support are not required for Track 1 since it's much more focused on demonstrating the potential of experimental, non-commercial technologies. They're highly recommended for Track 2 because it’s much more focused on developing a plan or proposal that can enhance the City’s EV roadmap in the immediate term. That includes figuring out how to deploy greater charging infrastructure in key locations across all five boroughs.
We have a number of massive deadlines this month and are unsure if we will be able to submit a quality application in time. I would love if you could give a one or two week extension for those smaller companies that have a lot of things to juggle at once. Is that possible?
We totally understand the challenges associated with running your existing business and participating in the Challenge, which is why we tried to space out rounds so that teams had about a month to submit applications. While we can't offer an extension, we highly recommend you still participate even if the detail and granularity in your proposal is lighter than expected. In some cases we've found that the most succinct proposals were also the most impressive. In others cases we found that while some teams could not make it past Round 2 they had synergies with other teams that made it to the Final Round and we encouraged them to combined forces later on a pilot or final proposal. Since this isn't a formal RFP process we'd love to hear your ideas regardless of how succinct they might be.
I’m applying to both tracks. Do I really need to submit two different applications?
Here's how to distinguish the two tracks:
- Track 1 is about experimental, non-commercial technology. This means we want to see something that hasn't been demonstrated or tested in an urban environment before. There will be a short pilot or demonstration involved.
- Track 2 is much more about building a proposal that can help the City reach its 2018, 2020, and 2025 EV goals. This is much more focused on business fundamentals, adoption plans and outreach, understanding the City's landscape and identifying key businesses/geographies to deploy stations, and so on. This will likely not have a pilot component but will instead feature a presentation to leadership in City agencies, notably the Chief Fleet Officer, with the possibility of a procurement opportunity after that.
If you're proposing to demo an experimental technology that is not yet commercial and also have ideas on how to help the City achieve its near-term goals, then submitting both applications makes sense and if you make it to the final round there can be some consolidation. In general, the two applications try to get at different things though there are a few similar questions.
How will the $20K awards figure into the final pilots for Track 1 and the proposal for Track 2? How should we think about pilots?
- Track 1: Up to three finalists for Track 1 will receive $20K each to fund at least a portion, if not their entire, demonstration. We're finalizing the locations for those demonstrations over the coming weeks and are hoping to make available a series of locations or City assets that could enable the teams to demonstrate their technology effectively.
- Track 2: Up to three finalists will present their proposals and the 1 winner will actually get $20K to refine it into a fully fleshed out plan that could be plugged into the City's EV roadmap. The $20K could be used to build out models that project EV adoption, acquire data to support adoption scenarios, and so on.
Here's what we recommend: you should use your proposal to highlight the types of City assets you think would be useful for a smart, breakthrough demonstration for Track 1. Be specific about the types (e.g. a light pole, a parking space, a walkway in a park, existing charging station) or actual locations that you think would enhance your demonstration. We'll do our best to incorporate that into the final set of demonstration locations teams can access and will ensure that teams have adequate time to demonstrate their technology effectively, even if it means moving dates around.
Who can participate?
This challenge is open to any company, entity, or individual that can effectively devise a solution to the problem. There are no formal location, industry, or past work requirements.
Can international businesses participate?
Do I need to have experience working with the public sector?
What should I include in my submission?
Your submission should include responses to all questions listed in the submission application.
The evaluation committee will review submissions and determine which solutions they will select.
The project team may reach out and request more detailed technical specifications for the solution you proposed. Details about the type of information, format, and length will be shared along with that request.
Can I propose a novel solution that hasn’t been tested before?
You may propose a solution that has not yet been tested; however, assumptions should be rigorous and provable. If the project team is interested in your solution, you will be asked to provide additional technical documentation and/or research demonstrating the outcomes that you are claiming. If you have had previous test pilots or deployments, please indicate this information on your submission application.
Will I have an opportunity to meet with evaluation committee team to pitch my solution?
Finalists will have the opportunity to pitch their proposals to the evaluation committee. In addition, the evaluation staff will answer questions. All questions and answers will be published to all challenge participants.
Will I have access to existing City-owned land, infrastructure, and technology?
If participants propose to use public land or other resources, they should seek to include a letter of support from the relevant City agency with their submission.
If I apply to this challenge, can I also apply to other challenges?
Will the next step be to issue an RFP to procure the best solution?
The winner may be eligible to have design elements included in the City’s EV charging roadmap. The sponsoring agencies may release an open solicitation to deploy a technology on a larger scale following the completion of the challenge.
Will the contents of the submission remain as my intellectual property?
Once a proposal is submitted, the sponsoring agencies will own the contents of the submission. You must clearly designate in your submission those portions of the submission, if any, that the proposer believes are trade secrets, proprietary, or maintained for the regulation of commercial enterprise and that, if disclosed, would cause substantial injury to the competitive position of the proposer. To the extent the law permits, the sponsoring agencies will use reasonable efforts to hold the designated portions of the submission in confidence.
Is there any funding available for the winning teams?
- Track 1: Up to three finalists will be awarded $20,000 each to present their proposals to the evaluation committee. We encourage teams to think creatively about financial sustainability, business models, and partnerships, especially between small and large firms.
One winner will be featured at an upcoming NYCx event for global audiences.
- Track 2: Up to three finalists will be invited to present their proposals to the NYC Department of Transportation and Mayor’s Office of Sustainability but they will not receive funding for that presentation.
The winner will receive $20,000 to further develop and expand their proposal and present a live demo bringing that proposal to life (e.g. virtual reality demo, charging demo, city-scale mock-up with adoption scenarios). The winner may have elements of their submission included in the City’s EV charging roadmap (currently in development).