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Reducing Emissions, One NYC Street-Vendor Cart At A Time


New York food cart hooks up to the grid. [Photo by Simply Grid]

New York food cart hooks up to the grid. [Photo by Simply Grid]

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Almost anything can be run on electricity these days. Add to the list, now, even New York City's numerous food carts.

In a new pilot program, street vendors are testing out "grid-powered" electrical connections as an alternative to the noisy, polluting generators they typically use to run their carts, Gothamist reports.

The hardware is being supplied by Simply Grid, a company specializing in "on demand" services involving public access to electricity.

It launched similar electric food-cart pilot programs in Atlanta and Austin earlier this year. New York's program is sponsored by the Mayor's Office, the city DoT, and local utility Con Edison.

To keep New Yorkers supplied with hot dogs and falafel, Simply Grid installs a pedestal on the street that vendors plug into using the cords that normally attach to their generator.

The pedestals have built-in metering controllers that connect wirelessly to Simply Grid and to the vendor's smartphone, allowing each vendor to turn on the service with a tap.

"We accept SMS text messages for outlet control too," notes the company's Michael Dubrovsky, "so vendors without smartphones can still use the service."

Simply Grid estimates that switching from generators to grid electricity could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 9 metric tons a year.

It also says its system will save vendors money by eliminating the need to buy fuel for the generators.

One thing is certain: New York streets would be (a little) quieter without constantly running food-cart generators.

With food-cart vendors hooking up to the grid and New York cabbies testing out electric taxis, who knows what will go electric next?

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