Electric vehicle fleet and infrastructure startup Gravity seems to have broken the code for urban EV charging infrastructure.
The company, which was founded in February this year, announced its construction project to convert an indoor parking garage into a public EV fast charging hub in the middle of Manhattan. When the 29-space garage on 42nd Street, which the Gravity real estate firm is leasing from related companies, opens within a few weeks, it will be the island’s first dedicated EV charging space. Depending on Gravity’s plans to scale, this won’t last.
“We will see five to ten fast charging sites of varying capacity in Manhattan over the next six months,” Moshe Cohen, Gravity CEO and founder, told . “We’ve visited dozens of sites in five cities with Con Ed. We’ve surveyed the power grid and plan to scale it because it doesn’t work as a one-off. It works with coverage areas to scale. Is.”
Finding a place to park your car in New York City is a nightmare in itself. finding a park And A fee for your EV is like finding a unicorn, and maybe an expensive unicorn at that. Most EV charge points in NYC are behind literal pay parking garages, where you might find a blink or two of EV Connect chargers in a sea of ICE vehicle parking spaces. With Gravity Hub, parking is free while cars are being charged. There is only electricity cost.
Gravity isn’t the first to recognize the problem of charging electric vehicles in the urban core. Electric mobility company Revel, best known for its shared e-mopeds first around New York City, opened the city’s first public fast-charging hub in an outdoor lot in Brooklyn last June. Con Edison, a New York electric utility company, has supported both initiatives. Electric Vehicle Charging Incentives and Rewards.
For Gravity’s site in Manhattan Plaza, the company worked with Con Ed to draw excess capacity power from two separate utility rooms on 42nd Street and Ninth Avenue, producing approximately 2,400 amps of power, which was Cohen’s plan. To say that condensing in one place is extremely rare. In any city, let alone New York.
Cohen said he spent a long time location-scouting before choosing it as Gravity’s first location, and the proximity to power wasn’t the only game changer here. The site has its own dedicated entrance from 42nd Street and falls between Ninth and Tenth Avenues, close not only to Times Square and the city center, but also to the Lincoln Tunnel that runs to and from New Jersey. provides access.
“Our vision is to bring infrastructure to all the places where cars are right now, so if you are in our coverage area, you never have to worry about charging your vehicle, because it It will charge where it is parked,” Cohen said. “So if you think about dense urban areas like Manhattan or Downtown Chicago, where are the cars parked? They’re either on a curb or they’re inside a parking garage, and they’re lacking a lot of space. And So you have to design different equipment that deals with space and power constraints for all those places to be charging.”
Design is a big part of Gravity’s business model, from the design of the space to the charging equipment. The company says it is collaborating with Jasmit Rangar, an architect, to transform garages into attractive and welcoming spaces that are clean electric vehicles, integrating their buildings with the landscape, climate and environment. Known to do.
“The whole area is for EVs only, so this is your chance to really experience what the world would look like if there was no pollution or oil spills in parking areas for cars,” Cohen said.
In fact, the renderings look pretty appealing—not at all the dark, creepy, petrol-smelling caves that are attached to the city’s parking garages. Gravity says Ranger has also integrated the interactive touchscreen into the design of the various spaces the company is building around NYC. The touchscreen is designed by Gravity to help users adjust and monitor their vehicle’s charging as they wait among the light-filled wooden car cubbies and try to decide which plant decorations real or fake.
Providing standardized and simplified equipment was a major concern for Cohen as well. He says that in most cases existing models of public charging equipment involve an amalgamation of software, hardware and payment processing that are not very well integrated. Gravity has worked with an unnamed manufacturing partner to consolidate those segments and create a more seamless user experience, and this includes what’s on the back end of the charge, according to the company.
Gravity’s first site will have about 22 fast chargers, three intermediate chargers and a few slow chargers. All fast chargers are up to 180kW, which means that even when two vehicles are plugged into one installation, each plug can still deliver 90kW of energy. Cohen says that anything under 80 kW isn’t really fast charging, and that many companies that claim to offer fast charging actually only get out 62.5 kW. Cohen also says that by sending that current through a 400 amp charging cable, even small volt batteries like the Tesla can get more than 80 kW.
Intermediate chargers use approximately 24kW to 30 kW of equipment and charge cars within one to three hours. Slow chargers charge overnight or within six to eight hours using an 11 kW device.
Many of the parking spots, says Cohen, will be taken over by Gravity’s fleet of Tesla Model Y yellow cabs, which will charge overnight. Bringing a fleet of electric taxis to NYC was actually the inspiration behind building the charging infrastructure. Cohen has a soft spot for Yellow Cab as an institution and wanted to come up with a way to give it a renaissance. They got the green light from Tesla to lease vehicles for this use case and worked with the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) to change the rules to see Tesla as a taxi, Before Fleet how to charge.
“I talked to all the major charging equipment companies, and I quickly realized that there is no charging equipment for the charging fleet, and I realized the extent of the problem,” Cohen said. “We started thinking about infrastructure because the model doesn’t work without infrastructure and the yellow taxi that uses the Model Y requires a higher level of use and scale.”
In May, TLC approves Gravity’s pilot program, and Cohen said the agency is going to issue a memorandum of understanding to continue the program within the next few weeks. Meanwhile, Gravity is looking to install equipment on a larger scale so it can grow its fleet.
“People think of mobility as this drain of cash and nobody has figured it out,” Cohen said. “I really think that mobility and infrastructure are going to be sorted together, and you’ll be able to make a margin out of liberal use.”