The Lower East Side will receive one of five electric vehicle charging ‘superhubs’ planned by an electric moped operator that it claims will be able to charge vehicles in 20 minutes.
Revel, the electric vehicle startup known for its electric moped sharing program, said last week it will build five new ‘superhubs’ for electric vehicle (EV) charging across various locations throughout the five boroughs. All but one of the locations are slated to open by the end of 2023.
The Manhattan location will have 10 vehicle slots and will be located at Pier 36 on the LES adjacent to the FDR Drive. Revel said the aim is to make the hub accessible to commuters and for-hire vehicle operators. The company says the hubs will all be equipped with ultra-fast charging abilities, which can charge an electric vehicle in 20 minutes or less with a charge that can last 100 miles.
The announcement comes just days after Mayor Adams announced that federal grants of over $10 million will pay for nearly 1,000 new EVs to replace traditional gas-powered vehicles in the city’s fleet. “When New Yorkers see cars, trucks, and vans with the ‘NYC’ logo on the side, they can rest assured that those vehicles are contributing to a greener city,” said Adams when he announced the grants.
Most funding for Revel’s hubs, however, is private, coming from multinational investment firm BlackRock, which announced last year it would give $126 million in funding to Revel.
But there is also concern among community activists that the electric vehicles and scooters pose a growing danger to riders as well as pedestrians. At least 17 people died on scooters in 2021 and Revel voluntarily shut down for a month in 2021 after three riders were killed. Three pedestrians were also killed after collisions with EV scooters, including the actress Lisa Barnes, who was in “Gone Girl” and “Cocktail” but who died from injuries ten days after being struck by a scooter in 2021.
City officials say they realize they have to educate people and weigh the safety concerns versus the environmental benefits as the surge in electric scooters during the pandemic shows no signs of abating. Revel thinks the switch to smaller, rechargeable vehicles represents a long term change in city driving preferences rather than a short term response to the pandemic. But the company says much more needs to be done.
“The only way mass electric vehicle adoption will ever happen in New York City is if the charging infrastructure is there to support it,” said Revel CEO & Co-Founder Frank Reig in a statement on Jan 9th. “We need high-volume, public sites in the neighborhoods where people actually live and work, and that’s exactly what Revel is delivering with our growing Superhub network.”