A few years ago, a pure EV (electric vehicle) on the street would probably be a classic from the turn of the century—the 20th century. The world has gone full circle with electric cars, trucks, and every other wheeled vehicle becoming commonplace. And all those Volt, Tesla, and Rivian vehicles need a place to plug in and charge up. Matching the availability of gasoline and diesel with electric charging stations is a challenge; without them, electric sales will platform and the trend will stagnate.
Cities of all sizes are finding this out. Advanced urban areas, especially, know they need to provide frequent charging opportunities so their population will move more rapidly toward sustainable and environmentally better solutions. Charging providers are doing their part by offering incentives and cooperation, allowing more facilities to be made available. As an example, take Volta, a charger company, and the City of Hoboken, a New Jersey city of about 61,000 in the New York City metropolitan area.
Volta and the City of Hoboken formed a partnership in July 2022 with Volta to install and operate 25 additional EV charging stations throughout the mile square city, including eight DC fast chargers, all at no cost to the taxpayer. DC fast chargers can charge a vehicle’s battery from 20-80% in approximately 30 minutes. A level 2 charger will add about 20-25 miles of range per hour.
The addition of the new Volta charging stalls will more than double the number of public EV charging points available in Hoboken, and Volta and Hoboken may partner to bring even more chargers to the area in the future. The collaboration is a model for how EV charging infrastructure can be efficiently deployed within densely populated urban areas to maximize economic, health, and climate benefits.
Once installed, nearly all residents will be within a 5-minute walk of a public EV charger as demand for EV charging infrastructure is surging in Hoboken. Vehicle registration records show that there are currently over 1,600 electric or PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric) vehicles registered to Hoboken residents, and this number is predicted to triple by 2025.
The city and Volta will determine the pricing of charging a vehicle through the new Volta charging stations in the coming months. Hoboken’s goal is to provide affordable and conveniently located charging stations that residents can easily access. Expanding the accessibility of electric vehicle charging infrastructure is a key initiative within the city’s Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and become carbon neutral by 2050.
Since the first public charging stations were installed in 2021, more than 3,300 people have charged their vehicles over 4,300 times. Of these charging sessions, almost half have taken place at the city’s only on-street charging station, demonstrating the appeal and accessibility of curbside charging.
As the city adjusts to a fossil free future, it began replacing its traditional combustion engine vehicles with electric vehicles in 2018 and has since replaced 17 vehicles with electric, hybrid, or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The city’s Climate Action Plan calls for phasing in hybrid and electric vehicles to the municipal fleet to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions and realize additional cost savings, which include reduced fuel and maintenance costs.
Hoboken will be net zero by 2030, and municipal government operations will be net zero by 2025. The city began purchasing 100% renewable electricity for municipal facilities in 2019. Hoboken will also be carbon neutral by 2050, and municipal government operations will be carbon neutral by 2035. Carbon neutral means to reduce or offset all inventoried sources of carbon emissions.
One of the benefits the city will gain from its relationship with Volta will likely benefit its charging customers, too. Volta is the only EV charging company that directly integrates a digital media network into its public charging stations, capturing consumers’ attention as they shop and dine at local businesses and walk to entertainment venues, work, and home.
Adding 25 new Volta charging stalls and 50 digital media screens in Hoboken expands Volta Media Network’s impressions by nearly 20% within the New York City designated market area (DMA), unlocking additional reach within the most highly ranked DMA for Volta’s advertising customers. This network also spurs local economic activity for Hoboken businesses by influencing shoppers’ behaviors with contextually relevant, large-format messages.
Through this partnership, the city will receive a share of advertising screen time to promote city events, provide realtime transit information, and more. The digital advertising screens featured on Volta charging stations can generate media revenue immediately upon installation, enabling Volta to offset the development and construction costs to charging partners.
Introducing these new EV charging stalls directly supports Hoboken’s climate and sustainability goals. The city released its Climate Action Plan in 2019, which revealed transportation was responsible for 31% of the community’s GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions—the second largest contributor behind commercial real estate. Since then, the City has installed 22 public EV charging ports and has focused on making itself EV friendly by establishing favorable zoning, ordinances, community education, and more.
Supporting the transition to EVs within Hoboken also has significant health and economic benefits for residents, commuters, and visitors. According to Volta’s data planning tools, Hoboken will avoid up to 2,250 tons of carbon pollution, a key source of asthma and other respiratory health problems, through increased EV adoption through 2024. Supporting the switch from gasoline to electric-provided miles is also expected to save drivers in Hoboken up to $1.2 million at the gas pump each year.
Adding to the EV changing station switch is a minor sounding change that could have significant benefits for the city. It has reduced the already low citywide speed limit from 25 MPH to 20 MPH. The speed reduction, adopted unanimously through an ordinance passed by the Hoboken City Council and signed into law by Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla, aims to provide safer streets for all users and modes of transportation.
As Hoboken’s favorite son, Frank Sinatra, would sing, the city is “…doing it my way.” Partnership for EV charging, no cost to taxpayers, digital video screens around town, all for the future. Frankie would be proud.
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