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Science & Tech: Nyc Startup Gravity Plots Network Of Curbside

SCIENCE & TECH: NYC startup Gravity plots network of curbside car-charging ‘trees’

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A Big Apple-based electric vehicle startup wants to plant a network of ultra-efficient curbside “trees” along the city’s busy streets that are capable of recharging a car’s battery in at little as five minutes.

Google-backed Gravity Inc. developed the fast-charging technology already in use at its flagship station in a parking garage on West 42nd Street.

Now, Gravity CEO Moshe Cohen is hoping the city will approve his concept for the “DEAP Trees” – short for Distributed Energy Access Points – as it seeks to significantly enlarge its network.

The charging trees are meant to fit in seamlessly on metered streets — allowing drivers to pull in and park for a quick fill-up.

“The constraint is we have to deliver a charge at a speed that’s shorter than the dwell-time. So if you can only be there for 30 minutes, that car has to be charged in less than 30 minutes,” Cohen told The Post.

Gravity said the trees are designed to be resistant to vandalism.

The charging cables can provide 200 miles of range in 13 minutes for its 200kW mode and just five minutes for the 500kW model. That’s dramatically faster than the so-called “level 2” charging ports currently in use, which provide just 20 miles of range per hour of charging, according to the city’s website.

Gravity developed the sleek, minimalist trees with the help of design firm Rangr Studio — which also designed the stylish charging hardware used at the West 42nd Street facility.

They feature a maneuverable hinged arm and mounted cable system designed to be compatible with all major EV manufacturers, including Tesla and Rivian.

“The idea is to make it quiet, to make it seamless, to make it not stand out and also have the thing automatically put the cable back into its place,” said Rangr Studio’s Jasmit Rangr. “We anticipate that someone’s going to be in a hurry, hop in the car and just leave the cable hanging out there. We can’t let that just happen.”

Cohen said his firm’s long-term goal is to build a network larger than Tesla’s current “Supercharger” network.”

Each tree features a maneuverable arm and retractible mounted cable.

The New York City Department of Transportation did not immediately return a request for comment.

Rangr said the trees were specifically designed to be resistant to vandalism and rough use on city streets.

The design team focused on ensuring the charging cable would never rest on the ground and would be capable of reaching any part of the car.

“This notion of ‘how do you serve all of these different locations’ is a critical one if you’re going to make EV charging curbside or in any tight location,” Rangr said. “You just can’t have cables dangling around and getting in the way of people.”

Gravity operates a charging center on West 42nd Street.

Curbside charging stations for electric vehicles are still a burgeoning concept in New York City.

The city has partnered with Con Edison to install 100 level-2 charging stations across the five boroughs, as well as a much smaller number of fast-charging stations, according to its website.

The New York City Department of Transportation has set goals of installing 1,000 level 2 charging stations by 2025 and 10,000 stations by 2030. The department is expected to provide an update on guidelines for the expansion later this year.

Cohen argued it is crucial that the city turn to more advanced charging technology as soon as possible to ensure that the stations aren’t obsolete by the time the goal is reached.

Gravity wants to build the country’s largest charging network.

“Our goal in New York, if we do a few hundred out of the 1,000 and a few thousand out of the 10,000, which we’re ready to do, suddenly New York has more fast-charging…than any other city in the country,” Cohen said.

Gravity is currently in talks with various city agencies as it looks to install the devices in New York, according to Cohen – who described the city as a crucial proving ground for the technology that could draw interest from other locales in the future, such as Boston and Los Angeles.

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