MANHATTAN – Just weeks after brand new curbside electric vehicle charging stations were activated in three locations across the Upper East Side, the stations face a problem bigger than selfish drivers blocking them with gas-powered cars— vandals are now tampering with charging cars outside Carl Schurz Park and even severed one of the station’s high voltage cables.
Frayed wires that carry thousands of volts poked out of the severed cable laying on the wet, rain soaked sidewalk on East End Avenue near East 87th Street— they also hung in the air above the heads of anyone passing by, tethered to the post overhead in order making moving the heavy cable easier.
It’s worth noting, while the cable itself is not energized while laying on the sidewalk, the station is still active and can be turned on with a mobile app.
The vandalism, discovered Thursday afternoon, comes two days after a vehicle was tampered with while charging in the exact same location. Witnesses told Upper East Site two teens had approached the car charging outside Carl Schurz Park and pulled the cable out and thew it on the sidewalk.
As innocuous as it may seem, anyone with more nefarious intentions could have easily caused thousands in damage to a plugged-in and charging electric vehicle.
Separately, blocked charging stations remain an issue at the UES curbside charging stations.
Activated in August, the Department of Transportation’s PlugNYC charging stations are operated by a Canadian company called FLO that provide Level 2 charging with enough juice to give an EV twenty miles of range in just an hour.
It’s not clear how popular the curbside chargers are with EV drivers, as every time Upper East Site visited the East End or East 78th Street stations, they were blocked by gas-powered cars that had not even received a summons from the NYPD.
Tonight, the DOT tells Upper East Site that it “will not tolerate tampering or vandalism of any city property. We’ve alerted our partners at Con Edison and Flo and the station is no longer in service as we work to inspect and repair any damage.”