New York City has one of the best mass transit systems of any major metropolis. But the City itself is still noisy, polluted and congested. The first two may soon be eased, thanks to continuing work from New York’s Power Authority (NYPA), which showcased a range of all-electric and hybrid electric vehicles to Westchester County and NYC governmental customers this week. 

In a joint venture with Ford and Azure Dynamics Crop., the NYPA hosted a “ride-and-drive” workshop at its White-Plains offices. Among the offerings were a 2011 Ford Connect electric commercial Van and even a hybrid-electric bus.

Since 1995, the NYPA has been a keen supporter of all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. In that time, it has been responsible for putting over 1,200 electric-drive cars, trucks and busses on the road that have clocked up more than 11 million miles in the state. 

Ford Azure Transit Connect Commercial Van

Ford Azure Transit Connect Commercial Van

While neither commercial vans or busses are likely to be of interest to members of the public, the event is part of a larger initiative aimed to get the entire state supporting plug-in vehicles. Under the program, NYPA leverages its funds to help arrange financing and infrastructure to support the purchase of all-electric vehicles by New York public organizations and governmental groups. 

In the past, the scheme has helped assist the purchase of everything from plug-in cars to delivery vehicles, but does not include helping private purchases. 

Of course, New York State is a much larger place than New York City. While the NYPA covers the entire state, expect most of the electric vehicle action to take place in the greater New York Metropolis, best suited to the adoption of electric vehicles. 

Joining the 2010 BMW Mini-E test fleet and 2011 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive, the plug-in vehicles purchased as part of the NYPA scheme will increase the number of all-electric vehicles in New York.

But the scheme isn’t just to help state-funded customers of NYPA to go green. By the end of this year, NYPA will have received an early-production model of the Ford Transit Connect EV, based on Ford’s gasoline-powered Connect, but fitted with an all-electric factory-fit drivetrain developed by Azure Dynamics. 

With two seats and a cargo area big enough for small loads, the 2011 Ford Transit Connect EV can travel up to 100 miles on a charge. It is the smallest offering from the Ford-Azure partnership

Ford Azure Electric Shuttle Bus

Ford Azure Electric Shuttle Bus

Another of the Ford-Azure built vehicles joining the roads of New York shortly will be a fleet of plug-in hybrid busses, capable of seating up to 14 passengers while providing operators with a 40% improvement in fuel economy. The vehicle isideally suited to public schools, youth projects, transport for seniors or the mobility challenged, and even certain police duties.

Absent at the moment is the 2012 Ford Focus, but partners in the programme are expected to receive the all-electric hatchback as soon as it enters production later next year.

While consumers won’t directly benefit from this governmentally-focused scheme it will help raise the awareness of EVs in New York, improve air-quality and give New York residents another reason to love their home.