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NYC Taxi and Rideshare Companies Are 'Smart' About Charging Their Electric Vehicles

Ride Providers Charge Overnight, Earn Rewards With Con Edison’s SmartCharge NY Program

The drivers of powder blue Teslas back carefully into spots near the 25 vehicle chargers in a lot in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood just after midnight each morning.

It takes less than an hour for the battery in each of the Revel rideshare cars to charge up for another day of runs to airports, workplaces, tourist destinations and other locations.

The schedule these vehicles keep lines up perfectly with Con Edison’s SmartCharge New York program, which rewards drivers for charging their vehicles between midnight and 8 a.m. when the demand for electricity is low. (See a video about taxi and rideshare companies enrolling in SmartCharge.)

“Cities across the country, including New York, have set ambitious emissions reduction goals, and electric vehicles and mobility are key to meeting them,” said Tobias Lescht, head of EV Infrastructure and Energy at Revel. “As Revel expands our network of publicly accessible fast charging sites, we’re proud to participate in Con Edison’s SmartCharge program, which makes clean EV adoption even more economical for our rideshare fleets and our charging customers.”

The plugs in Revel’s lot, which is the largest universal fast-charging hub in North America, provide up to 75 kilowatts. The rideshare company has 50 Teslas in its fleet.

Taxi and rideshare companies are taking advantage of SmartCharge, one of many initiatives Con Edison has to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles. The company makes clear in its Clean Energy Commitment that it believes EVs will play an integral role in a low-carbon future.

Con Edison is highlighting its success in enrolling taxis and rideshare vehicles in SmartCharge at the New York International Auto Show at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan. The company is sponsoring the multi-manufacturer EV test track at the Auto Show.

More than 6,000 electric vehicles are enrolled in SmartCharge, which allows Con Edison to collect EV charging data, like time and energy consumed during a charging session, and to pay cash rewards based on this information.

Drivers who enroll in SmartCharge get access to a web portal that provides information about their driving and charging habits.

The participants get their benefits through their PayPal account. They can send their money to a bank account, apply the money to online purchases or request a check.

EV owners who attend the Auto Show can earn up to $200 for enrolling and charging within a week. Participants then earn 10 cents per kilowatt hour for charging during off-peak hours. Some EV drivers earn more than $1,000 per year.

A few miles north of the Revel lot, Savas Tsitiridis looks out at his second-floor window at some of the 500 yellow taxis his company, United Taxi Management, owns. He enrolled the company’s first five Teslas in SmartCharge and plans to enroll more in the coming years as he transitions to an all-electric fleet.

“Every picture or movie scene you see of a New York City street shows at least one yellow cab,” Tsitiridis, the owner of United, said. “We want to make this iconic symbol of our city synonymous with clean air and SmartCharge is helping us do that. It’s a great program and our drivers love it.”

Tsitiridis has assigned one driver to each of the five taxis he enrolled in SmartCharge and lets them keep the rewards.

The vehicles power up at a pair of chargers at United’s expansive property on 39th Street near Queens Boulevard in Long Island City. Tsitiridis plans to add six chargers and 10 Teslas later this spring.

Most of the thousands of vehicles that pass by the 1,000-space Manhattan Plaza parking garage on West 42nd Street in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen burn gasoline.

But Moshe Cohen, the founder and CEO of Gravity, the EV fleet and infrastructure startup, thinks that is going to change in a big way. He envisions EVs becoming a predominant form of transportation on the city’s streets.

And as they do, he believes, many will pull into the garage near the Lincoln Tunnel where Gravity is placing 24 publicly available chargers that will also power his company’s vehicles. The two cars the burgeoning company has on the road are in SmartCharge.

“Gravity is working to spur an EV revolution on the streets of big cities like New York. But that transition depends on lowering the cost of power for electric fleets and vehicles, while protecting the grid.” Cohen said. “SmartCharge does that by providing incentives for charging when the grid can best support it.”

He said he wants to help transform Manhattan from “a charging desert” to “a beacon for the future of cities and the future of EV charging in cities.”

Con Edison and its customers benefit when EV drivers avoid charging during times of peak demand for power. Managing the demand on the grid at those peak times helps Con Edison maintain its industry-leading reliability.

Con Edison is a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc. [NYSE: ED], one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies, with approximately $14 billion in annual revenues and $63 billion in assets. The utility delivers electricity, natural gas and steam to 3.5 million customers in New York City and Westchester County, N.Y. Through Consolidated Edison Inc.’s subsidiary, Con Edison Clean Energy Businesses, the company is the second-largest solar developer in the United States. For financial, operations and customer service information, visit