NYPA President Zeltmann Sees Vital Role for Electric and
Mr. Zeltmann's remarks
December 11, 2002
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New York Power Authority (NYPA)
President and Chief Executive Officer Eugene W. Zeltmann said Wednesday that
electric and hybrid-electric vehicles can play a key role in strengthening
the nation’s energy independence.
“It’s clear that electric-drive vehicles (EDV’s) can meet many
transportation needs while improving both our energy security and our
environment,” Zeltmann said in a speech at a conference sponsored by the
Electric Vehicle Association of the Americas, a trade group.
He called on the international audience to help ensure that, over time,
electric-drive-based systems “become a significant mover of vehicles in this
country” and help to reduce dependence on imported oil.
Zeltmann noted that about two-thirds of the oil consumed in the United
States is used for transportation, and that the transportation sector alone
consumes twice the amount of oil that is produced domestically.
Citing continued instability in the Middle East and the prospect of war in
Iraq, Zeltmann said it would be dangerous to increase reliance on foreign
oil to meet future needs.
“Yet—for all the warnings—petroleum still accounts for 95 percent of the
energy consumed in the U.S. transportation sector,” he said.
The solution, Zeltmann said, is to replace oil with electricity that would
be used to power pure electric vehicles and hybrids, which use a combination
of electric motors and gas engines.
While stating that electric vehicles that run only on batteries can
successfully fill various niches, Zeltmann said that hybrids, particularly
those connected directly to the power system, offer “the greatest immediate
promise” for increased use of electric-drive transportation. After 10 or 20
years, he said, the most dramatic impact could come from all-electric
vehicles powered by fuel cells.
Zeltmann said the federal and state governments must help to advance EDV’s
through tax incentives for consumers and other measures.
Under the leadership of Gov. George E. Pataki, he said New York State has
thus far designated $35 million in Bond Act funding for hybrid and other
clean buses and for clean-fueled vehicles in government fleets. In
addition, he noted that Governor Pataki has signed legislation to facilitate
tax credits or exemptions for hybrid-vehicle purchasers and has issued an
executive order that requires increasing use of clean-fueled vehicles by the
As “a major asset” in New York’s efforts to promote electric and
hybrid-electric transportation, Zeltmann said the Power Authority has helped
to deploy about 375 such vehicles in its fleet and those of its customers.
The vehicles, ranging from school and transit buses to passenger cars and
electric bicycles, have traveled more than 2.3 million miles. NYPA is the
only utility in the Northeast to have passed the million-mile mark.
Zeltmann cited various Power Authority initiatives, including:
Clean Commute, the nation’s largest electric-vehicle station-car
demonstration program. Nearly 100 commuters in the New York City suburbs
have leased Ford Th!nk City EVs that are charged at seven area train
stations during the workday. Participants also travel on commuter and
subway trains fueled by electricity, much of it from the Power Authority.
Zeltmann said NYPA would try to find other partners to help continue the
program if Ford, following a current assessment, discontinues production of
the Th!nk City.
now being developed, to join as partners with New York State’s municipal and
rural electric cooperative systems in promoting EDV’s.
completed project, with others, to electrify 28 parking spaces for trucks at
the Hunts Point Cooperative Market in the Bronx, the world’s largest
wholesale food distribution center. Using electricity to heat and cool
parked trucks and for other services prevents air pollution from idling