Ask an NYC employee about their city car in 2025, and they’ll say “It’s electric!” On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a plan to replace non-emergency city vehicles with electric cars like the Leaf and the Volt over the next decade. The plan is called Clean Feet, and it aims to create the largest municipal electric vehicle fleet in the US.
Mayor de Blasio said in a statement, “A cleaner, greener fleet is yet another step toward our ambitious but necessary sustainability goals, including an 80 percent reduction in all emissions by 2050.” That means getting rid of about 2,000 SUVs and sedans. The city owns about 11,000, but about half are used as emergency vehicles. The changes are planned for about half of the non-emergency fleet, which translates to the 2,000 estimate.
As old gas-powered vehicles are retired, they’ll be replaced with electric ones. An investment of about $50-$80 million over ten years will cover expanding charging capacity for the new additions. Fuel savings will offset the costs, and the conversion will help halve the city government vehicle emissions.
“By building the largest municipal electric vehicle fleet in the country – and potentially the world – New York City is continuing to lead by example,” de Blasio said. “Cities are setting the pace on climate action, and with our city and our planet’s very future at stake, we need national leaders in Paris to take note and take action.”
Details of the Clean Fleet plan are still being ironed out, like where to place charging stations for the electric cars, and how to deal with the vehicles’ limitations. For instance, some cars are required to travel beyond the range of current charging capacities. Others are usually driven in consecutive shifts which doesn’t leave time for recharging. As technologies improve, some of these limitations may be resolved.
Clean Fleet is part of the OneNYC plan, which aims to reduce all city greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050. Transportation accounts for a little less than a quarter of citywide greenhouse gas emissions. City vehicles are about four percent of total city transportation emissions, or 13 percent of emissions attributable to city government.