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City Launches Public E-bike Charging Sites For Delivery Workers

The charging stations in Brooklyn, one in Sunset Park and another in downtown Brooklyn, will come in a few weeks.
A delivery worker on an e-bike in Brooklyn.

The city rolled out the first of five public e-battery charging locations as part of the its new six-month pilot program to test safe, public charging of lithium-ion batteries for delivery workers.

The first charging site is located in Cooper Square in Manhattan's East Village. The charging stations at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park and Jay Street in downtown Brooklyn will be installed and activated in the coming weeks, according to a news release. 

“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 Eric 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.”

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 charging stations include fire safety features, automatic shutoff if a battery is overheating to fire suppression systems. The Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) reviewed product development and will also inspect each pilot location during installation and throughout the duration of the program.

“We know that micro-mobility devices powered by lithium-ion batteries are already in people’s homes,” said FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh. “In fact, a majority of deadly e-bike fires happen in residences. They are used daily by delivery workers and others to work and commute. We are grateful to partner with the DOT to give delivery workers a safe place to charge their devices. Fires caused by lithium-ion batteries are extremely dangerous and deadly, and we must continue to work together to tackle this public safety threat head on.”

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. The Brooklyn event will take place at the Brooklyn Army Terminal on March 8.