Today, the first fully electric medium-duty delivery truck in New York City was unveiled in the Bronx. The vehicle, which is owned and operated by Down East Seafood in Hunts Point, was dubbed “Big Green” by Down East’s Ed Taylor.
It is a battery-powered, refrigerated cargo truck manufactured in Kansas City, MO by Smith Electric Vehicles US. The zero-emissions truck was built for carrying fresh food and frozen products, like the shellfish and seafood that Down East hauls.
The purchase of the truck was underwritten in part through federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality funding administered by The New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA). Additional financing was provided by the Bronx Empowerment Zone, a federal program administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Congressman José E. Serrano and others see the truck’s debut as particularly timely as the oil-produced disaster in the Gulf of Mexico continues to unfold and also as a dramatic first step towards cleaning the notoriously bad air in the South Bronx.
“Down East’s new truck gives us a glimpse of a clean energy future that is within our reach. It is appropriate that this technology will be introduced here in the South Bronx, a hot zone for childhood asthma and other respiratory diseases,” said Congressman Serrano. “I am confident that this technology will quickly prove its worth and cost-effectiveness to public and private fleet operators. EVs are clearly a wise investment for this country, but they are also a smart investment for small businesses and I believe that we will see many more follow Ed Taylor’s admirable lead. It is the way the nation must go if we are to clean our air, reinvigorate our manufacturing base, and ensure that we never have cataclysmic oil spills like the one unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico.”
“I am so proud that a diverse set of actors was able to come together to kick-start the switch to clean electric vehicles in our nation’s truck fleets. Another crucial step is to increase demand for electric trucks, which will drive down the cost of batteries, electric drivetrains, and other components, making them more affordable for small businesses. Passage of the American Electric Vehicle Manufacturing Act, which I introduced late last year, would switch the US Postal Service to a plug-in electric fleet and help lower component costs for the industry and the consumer. There are many routes to this clean energy future, but today we have taken a concrete step in the right direction.”
The Center for Sustainable Energy at Bronx Community College, an initiative launched in 2003 with funding secured by Congressman Serrano, served as the project’s facilitator, identifying sources of funding and providing the technical expertise Down East needed to finalize the purchase. NYSERDA funded a portion of the acquisition cost through the New York City Private Fleet Alternative Fuel/Electric Vehicle Program, a federally-funded State and local partnership between NYSERDA and the New York City.
“We are proud to be among the first adopters of the cleanest transportation technology available,” said Ed Taylor, owner and operator of Down East Seafood. “Our home community, Hunts Point, has one of the highest rates of childhood asthma in the nation. The small step we take today is our way to begin mitigating the longstanding and destructive impacts of diesel trucking on our community. We are also looking forward to telling any business considering electric vehicles how well Big Green works, and how much it has benefited us. We are very passionate about the environment, but this is a great business decision too. With our refrigeration needs, we are asking a lot of this truck, but we have found it completely up to the task. Now we are not only the purveyor of the freshest seafood in the tristate area, but also a leader in the push to go green. We had help from a variety of folks and appreciated their commitment to helping us get Big Green.”
“With concerns increasing every day about the future of energy supplies, electric vehicles can give business owners unprecedented cost certainty as they look to managing the next five to ten years of their fleets,” said Bryan Hansel, CEO of Smith Electric Vehicles U.S., an all-electric commercial truck manufacturer. “Continued government support of the industry will allow producers to rapidly scale up production, lowering costs and driving the creation of high-quality manufacturing jobs.”
Francis J. Murray Jr., president and CEO of NYSERDA said, “As the technology driving Down East Seafood’s new electric delivery vehicle becomes more widely available, the people of New York City and New York State will benefit from a more sustainable delivery system that will help reduce our carbon footprint and improve our air quality. I commend Congressman Serrano for his leadership in introducing the American Electric Vehicle Manufacturing Act in Congress late last year. This legislation will spur economic activity within our clean energy economy and create jobs while helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and our dependence on foreign sources of petroleum.”
Dr. Carolyn G. Williams, President of Bronx Community College of the City University of New York, stated: “Bronx Community College, home of the Center for Sustainable Energy, is proud to be a partner with exceptional leaders such as Congressman Serrano, conscientious local businesses such as Down East Seafood, government funding resources such as NYSERDA and BOEDC to promote the use of clean energy technology.” Dr. Williams added that “Collaborations such as these elevate BCC’s role as a community resource.”
“Now more than ever, it is critical that we transition to alternative vehicle technology,” said Tria Case, University Director of Sustainability at CUNY and Executive Director of the Center for Sustainable Energy at Bronx Community College. “Helping businesses like Down East Seafood maximize opportunities to achieve sustainability and advance to clean energy technology are at the core of the Center for Sustainable Energy’s mission.”
“The POINT CDC is thrilled with the precedent that Ed Taylor and Downeast Seafood have set with this first of its kind electric truck in Hunts Point,” said Maria Torres, Chief Operating Officer, The POINT Community Development Corporation, a lead organization in greening the Bronx and Hunts Point. “For years we have been fighting for industry and residents to coexist more peacefully and live together in better harmony in our neighborhood. This truck shows that our vision is possible; that jobs can be created and businesses can thrive here in Hunts Point without needing to pollute our air and waterways. We are excited to announce this truck will be featured as a float in the 7th annual Hunts Point Fish Parade & Summer Festival this Saturday, June 19, 2010.”
“The time to move beyond our dependence on oil is now,” said Luke Tonachel, senior transportation analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Electric vehicles demonstrate that we have the technology today to transform the way we drive and be a world leader in plug-in electric vehicle manufacturing and use. We simply need to capitalize on the opportunity.”
“By leading the way with Big Green, they have paved a path towards a carbon free delivery system that allows NYC residents to receive their goods and services the clean way. Alternative fueled vehicles and advanced vehicles like this one are the key to our future and the transition to cleaner vehicles is the key to the health of future generations” said Christina Ficicchia, Executive Director, New York City and Lower Hudson Valley Clean Communities, Inc. (NYCLHVCC).