NYC startup Gravity plots network of curbside car-charging ‘trees’

A New York-based electric vehicle startup wants to plant a network of super-efficient roadside “trees” along the city’s busiest roads that can charge car batteries in just five minutes.

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

Now Gravity CEO Moshe Cohen is hoping the city will approve the concept of a “DEAP Tree,” short for Distributed Energy Access Points, as it looks to significantly expand the network.

The Charging Tree is designed to fit seamlessly into toll roads, allowing drivers to park their cars there and quickly refuel.

“The constraint is that you have to charge at a rate that’s shorter than the time you’re going to be there. So if you can only be there for 30 minutes, then the car has to be charged in 30 minutes or less,” Cohen told the Post.

Gravity said the trees are designed to withstand vandalism.

The charging cable can add 200 miles of range in 13 minutes in 200kW mode, or just five minutes in the 500kW model, which is significantly faster than so-called “Level 2” charging ports currently in use, which only add 20 miles of range per hour, according to the city’s website.

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

It features a hinged arm for easy operation and a cable system designed to be compatible with all major EV manufacturers, including Tesla and Rivian.

“The idea is to silently, seamlessly, unobtrusively and automatically return the cable to its original position,” says Jasmit Rangr of Rangr Studio. “We expect that people who are in a hurry will hop in their car and leave the cable there. We can’t allow that.”

Cohen said the company’s long-term goal is to build a larger network of “Superchargers” than Tesla’s current network.

Each tree is fitted with a maneuverable arm and a retractable cable.

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

Langer said the trees are specifically designed to withstand vandalism and rough treatment in urban areas.

The design team focused on ensuring the charging cable can reach any part of the car without falling onto the ground.

“When you put EV charging stations on the side of the road or in tight spaces, the concept of, ‘how do we serve all these different locations?’ is really important,” Langer says. “We can’t have cables dangling down and getting in people’s way.”

Gravity operates a charging center on West 42nd Street.

On-street charging stations for electric vehicles are still a growing 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.

New York City Transit has set a goal of installing 1,000 Level 2 charging stations by 2025 and 10,000 by 2030. The agency is expected to release updated guidelines for the expansion later this year.

Cohen argued that it’s crucial that the city installs more advanced charging technology as soon as possible so that charging stations don’t become obsolete by the time the goal is reached.

Gravity wants to build the largest charging network in the country.

“Our goal in New York is, if we can get to a few hundred of the 1,000, a few thousand of the 10,000, then suddenly New York will have more fast chargers installed than any other city in the United States,” Cohen said.

Cohen said Gravity is currently considering installing the device in New York and is in discussions with various city agencies, which he sees as an important proving ground for the technology that could eventually attract interest from other areas such as Boston and Los Angeles.