NYC Mayor Announces Activation Of City’s First Public E-Bike Charging Site For Delivery Workers


Effort Part of Administration’s “Charge Safe, Ride Safe” Plan to Support Safe E-Bike Use, Prevent Deadly Lithium-Ion Battery Fires

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New York, NY

New York City Mayor Eric Adams, New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez, and New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President and CEO Andrew Kimball today activated the first of five public e-battery charging locations as part of the city’s new six-month pilot program to test safe, public charging of lithium-ion batteries by an initial group of 100 delivery workers. The first charging site is being located in Cooper Square in Manhattan’s East Village and is a key component of the administration’s overall “Charge Safe, Ride Safe: New York City’s Electric Micromobility Action Plan” to support safe e-bike use and prevent deadly lithium-ion battery fires. New York City is among the first major cities in the United States to launch a public e-bike charging pilot program.

“We count on delivery workers for so much, and they should be able to count on us, too — whether that means fighting for fair pay or making their jobs and livelihoods safer,” said Mayor Adams. “This pilot program we’re kicking off today will give delivery workers the ability to access safe, accessible, outdoor battery-charging that will undoubtedly save lives, and we’re eager to expand this pilot even further. We know the incredible potential of e-bikes in our city and it’s on us to make e-bike use even safer.”

“Delivery workers, their families, and their neighbors deserve to be safe from battery fires,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “Workers need on-street infrastructure for safe charging, and this pilot is an important step as we continue our work with the City Council to increase safety and worker protections in every aspect of the quickly-growing delivery market. Thank you to DOT, NYCEDC, DCWP and the Fire Department for making this possible.”

“E-bikes are critical tools for delivery workers to support our local economy. This pilot will offer convenient and safe charging options at public locations so that delivery workers do not have to charge their devices at home,” said DOT Commissioner Rodriguez. “We’re thrilled to launch this pilot and thank the mayor as well as our partners in labor for supporting this vision.”

DOT developed the pilot through the agency’s DOT Studio, a research and development partnership with NYCEDC and the urban tech growth hub Newlab. The announcement follows the release of the administration’s Green Economy Action Plan, a first-of-its-kind plan that outlines a roadmap to grow the city’s green economy — consisting of investments in jobs and sectors that will help the city combat climate change — and train and position New Yorkers, particularly those from environmentally-disadvantaged communities, to benefit from the nearly 400,000 projected ‘green-collar’ jobs in New York City by 2040.

Three companies — Swobbee, Popwheels, and Swiftmile — are providing charging infrastructure for the pilot. Swobbee and Popwheels are providing swappable battery systems, enabling participating e-bike users to swap a depleted, UL-certified e-bike battery for a fully-charged battery at designated outdoor battery cabinets. Swiftmile is providing a secure charging bike rack where participating e-bike users can lock up their bikes and charge while parked. The three technologies include fire safety features, ranging from automatic shutoff if a battery is overheating to fire suppression systems. The FDNY, a key partner in the pilot, reviewed product development and will also inspect each pilot location during installation and throughout the duration of the program.

Only participating delivery workers will be able to take part in the six-month pilot free of cost. In the coming days, DOT will sign as many as 100 delivery workers up to participate in the pilot program; during which the workers will provide continuous feedback about their experience with the charging technologies and hubs. Interested workers can fill out an Expression of Interest form or attend an onboarding event, including at Cooper Square on March 7, 2024 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM and at the Brooklyn Army Terminal on March 8, 2024 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

“We’re excited about the launch of the city’s first e-battery charging hub that will provide our delivery workers with places for safe charging,” said Ken Podziba, CEO, Bike New York.  “Many of the risks associated with dangerous lithium-ion batteries are preventable and offering these public charging stations, with hopefully many more to come, is a big and innovative step in the right direction. We’d like to thank Mayor Adams, Commissioner Rodriguez, and EDC President Kimball for their leadership in helping to combat the crisis of deadly fires associated with faulty lithium-ion batteries by offering real solutions for our hard-working commercial cyclists.”

“Los Deliveristas Unidos supports this initiative led and implemented by the Department of Transportation,” said Alejandro Grajales, representative, Los Deliveristas Unidos. “Building e-bike micro mobility infrastructure like e-bike charging has been a priority for Los Deliveristas Unidos. This type of infrastructure is critical to enhancing safety for not just the delivery workforce but the entire community at large.”

“Our group has been waiting for this great project to begin that will provide charging stations for e-bike batteries,” said Sergio Solano, representative, New York City Food Delivery Movement. “We thank the DOT for giving us the opportunity to be involved in this pilot program and thank the city of New York for considering us as essential workers.”

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