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NYC Mayor Eric Adams, Hertz Announce Partnership to Create Green Jobs, Provide Workforce Training, Electrify Vehicles – Transcript

September 20, 2023

First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright: Good afternoon. Good afternoon. Look at all these wonderful, young, fresh faces. My name Sheena Wright. I am the first deputy mayor of the City of New York, and really excited to take a moment today to share this exciting partnership with Hertz. I want everyone to appreciate the moment we’re in in history. We have set a goal to cut transportation emissions in half by 2030 — that’s just about six, seven years away, that is a significant goal — and to achieving net zero transportation emissions by 2050; again, not that far from now.

Those are huge goals where we will have no emissions from transportation in the City of New York. And in order to achieve those goals, we know we have to work together collectively — government, the private sector, all of us working in that direction — really to respond to the urgent needs, the crisis, the climate crisis that we’re living in and we will live in for the days to come.

One of the keys is having more electric vehicles in our city, and we can’t get that done if we don’t have the workforce that can actually create those vehicles, take care of those vehicles and make sure that we have and we’re building a green economy, because it’s not just about cutting the emissions, we look at it as to address a challenge but it’s also an opportunity.

It’s creating thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of new jobs, economic mobility, and we need to make sure that our beautiful, our young people are equipped to drive us forward, so that is also important as well. So, in setting the stage, I want to introduce the 110th mayor of the City of New York to tell you more about this exciting development.

Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you so much, First Deputy Mayor. And if I can, can I get some of you brothers up here, sisters if any, come on up here, join us, man. Those who want to, come on up and join, you know. Come on up. Come on up. You know, come on up.

Come on up. Look at them. Look at them. See, you start with one, that’s all you need is one. And let me you, all of you who drive vehicles, you’d better be kind to them because they will have to fix your cars and they want to charge the right amount, you know?

Let me give you an interesting, fun fact. I was a mechanic, Bristol Motors. After graduating high school, I went to a program called Pioneer School in lower Manhattan and then I went to a program that Commissioner Howard, you’ll be happy, that was sponsored and it taught me how to fix Volkswagens and Porsches. This is back in the days, back in the days when there was… We were using carburetors and just started… See? He said, damn!

And we just didn’t transition over from the time I finished the school I later had to learn how to use fuel injection. And so there was a constant evolution. We started using computer chips and using a different ways, knowing how to run your hand over a tire to know if it’s balanced right and if it’s moving right, knowing how to do wheel alignments so your car’s not shaking, and how to do timing chains so that you’re lined up with those two dots are corrected.

I don’t know what we’re doing now, but just think about it for a moment. All I thought I was going to do is fix cars. Some of the early young men that went through with me now they own their own mechanic shops, they run their own business. So, it’s more than just having head under the hood, it is really having your head connected to the enterprise of being a mechanic.

This is a craft and a skill that is going to be around a long time and is about, you know, how do we continue the evolution of it. People who state that you cannot do well by working with your hands, you’re wrong. You’re wrong. This is an opportunity in this school, and all who are here, just want to really thank them for this opportunity that we are experiencing today.

And I want to do a special shoutout to Janice Ross, the superintendent for more than… Started teaching more than 30 years and still in our school system. You know, the chancellor today was talking about teachers like you and educators on how do we accomplish these great tasks. Stephen and I spoke a few months ago, it wasn’t a long time ago, and he planted the seed of using EVs and electric vehicles with Hertz.

And we knew this was something that we should do. I told the first deputy mayor to reach out to him and we had to move this forward, and in the spirit of this administration, we believe in GSD — Get Stuff Done — it doesn’t take a long time, can’t analyze and be philosophical about doing things, we need to make it happen. And that’s exactly what they did.

We are plugged into the future of electric vehicles, also known as EV. We’re started on many levels. We have already converted 4,000 of our city fleet into electric vehicles, the most in the city’s history. And I say this over and over again, you’ll hear us say the most in the city history, the most, the most, the most. That is how we move it forward. We’re investing in electric garbage trucks and school buses; and earlier this year, we announced the entire ride share fleet will have to be zero emission by 2030.

But we can’t do this alone, it’s about partnerships. And that’s the hallmark of this administration with Meaghan Brown and our team, we have developed relationships with corporate America. I believe it’s unprecedented. Probably the closest that came to doing this was the former mayor, Mayor Bloomberg. But we are really pushing these interactions with the Partnership under Kathy Wylde, with partnership with Stephen and Hertz, and so many others. This administration is saying to corporate America, you have an awesome responsibility to be part of solving the problems that we are facing, and they are stepping up. They have been just focused on how do we help, and they have been helping.

So, to successfully transition New York City to electric vehicles and properly fight climate change, everyone must come along for the ride. I often say that we have two mothers: one gave birth to us and one sustains us. And we hug and nurture the one that gave birth to us, it’s time for us to be less abusive to Mother Earth and we must sustain her and give her what she needs.

And so this climate week, our administration is proud to join forces with Hertz as they create 100 new jobs and we work collaboratively to arm up or amp up our city’s electric future together. Hertz already has a fleet of nearly 4,000 EV’s in New York City area today. They are announcing the addition of up to 1,700 more electric vehicles. This investment… You could clap for that.

This investment is going to allow more EVs available to New Yorkers and help us really be on the right road to fight climate change. And as we electrify our cars, we will need more EV experts to support them, and that’s my crew, my posse and my folks, you know, who are behind me right now. They understand the significance of it.

So, Hertz is partnering with New York City Public Schools to help train young New Yorkers with the jobs of the future that are here today. They are donating five electric vehicles to four New York City technical high schools. Thank you so much, Hertz.

And you have to get under the hood. You have to touch the processes of electric vehicle operation. These vehicles are going to help immensely. You can’t…these guys would tell you, this is not the type of profession where you could just sit down and look at a video, you have to actually touch, feel and understand the operation of it, and these vehicles are going to allow us to do that.

These are good paying jobs. They’re in demand, and they will support our transition to a green energy and a green economy. The partnership will also help New York City continue to lead the nation in electrification. Our administration is committed to reaching our goals of cutting transportation emissions in half, as the deputy mayor stated, by 2030, and reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.

This is how we get more EVs on our road, this is how we empower our youth, it’s a win win situation, and this is how we continue to force a better relationship with corporate America. And I want to thank, again, Stephen Scherr and Hertz for making this happen. Only the beginning. You gave us this vision, we were able to execute it, and now we’re on the right road to make it happen. Thank you so much.

Stephen Scherr, Chair and CEO, Hertz: Thank you very much, Mr. Mayor. It’s great to be here to announce Hertz Electrifies New York City, especially during climate week, with First Deputy Mayor Wright and the students and staff at A-Tech. As a native New Yorker, it gives me enormous pleasure to announce this venture with the city. When I sat down with the mayor a little while ago and raised this idea, we joked that Hertz had engaged with a number of other cities around the country and I saw a competitive light in the mayor’s eyes. And I knew as a native New Yorker, if we were going to do it anywhere, we were going to do it in New York City.

So, right now, in addition to more than 150 or more countries represented at the UN, all of whom are here in New York, we can’t forget that there are thousands of leaders and innovators from across the country in New York City, all of whom are at the cutting edge of innovation and leadership. And this program — this joint venture, this public/private partnership, as the Mayor eloquently spoke about — creates solutions to climate change at the local level. Cities are where change is happening; and of course, no change happens more and with greater force than in New York.

Hertz is really proud to be the first mover in the transition to electric vehicles. EVs represent the most significant transformation in the auto industry in more than a century. And the mayor coming at this with experience… I had no idea. We may suit you up in a Hertz uniform shortly. But thanks to the efforts of Mayor Adams and his administration, New York City will soon be the largest city in the world — not just in the United States but in the world — to have a fully electric rideshare vehicle fleet by 2030.

Through this partnership, through Hertz Electrifies New York City, we will add, as the Mayor noted, 1,700 additional electric vehicles to our fleet across New York. We will add 100 jobs in New York City over the next year, including full time positions. We’ll continue to work with partners of ours on the corporate side to support the build out of charging stations across New York City, and we’re also looking to expand to expanding our ride share program in New York.

Nationally, more than 50,000 rideshare drivers — Uber, Lyft and others — have rented EVs from Hertz, and get this: they have traveled over 268 million miles with zero emissions. So, just imagine… Just imagine what we can do in New York City. But the transition to an electric vehicle world will not happen without a trained workforce, and the ingredients to that that sit behind us all here today. Hertz is donating, as the mayor noted, five electric vehicles to New York City technical schools. I would point out every other city got one; of course, New York needed one for each borough.

So, in addition to A-Tech two vehicles are going to the Thomas Edison Career and Technical Education High School in Queens, one is going to the Alfred E. Smith Career and Technical Education High School in the Bronx, and the Ralph R. McKee Career and Technical Education High School in Staten Island will get its car as well.

What’s more, Hertz will provide EV education and summer job opportunities to students around the city, which I think is a great way of advancing the cause. So, Mayor Adams, I am proud to present you with the keys to at least one of the five EVs sitting outside. Here’s the first one that’s going to A-Tech, and I’m confident the students will put it to great work.

So, with that, we could not be more excited about the potential of Hertz Electrifies New York City; and with that, I want to thank you and hand the podium back to the first deputy mayor.

First Deputy Mayor Wright: Thank you so much, Stephen. I thought he was going to say in his Oprah voice, and you get a car, and you get a car!

Before I introduce our next two speakers who are, you know, some of the most significant people who will stand at this podium today, I just want to take a moment, all these wonderful young men, we’ve got to get some girls…

We’ll get some girls, but all these wonderful young men behind me. Just, the mayor’s story. I learned something new about him today. I had no idea that he had that experience. He was also a computer programmer, he was also a police officer, a state elected. So, just the message to the young people: you can do many things, and this is the beginning of your journey. And whatever you dream, whatever you hope, you can lean into it and achieve it. And so hopefully the adults that are standing here are examples of that for you.

So, our next two speakers… and I also just want to thank Stephen Scherr, he’s been a friend of the administration. He helped co chair the transition, and it’s so wonderful to see you as a major corporate leader here in this country doing this work. Thank you.

Scherr: Thank you very much.

First Deputy Mayor Wright: So, our next two speakers are Joshua Hayes and PJ Chitolie. Where are you guys? Come on up.

They are our future, and this is what it’s all about. Joshua.

Joshua Hayes: Good afternoon, everyone. It is an honor to stand before you today. My name is Joshua Hayes, and I’m entering my fourth year in participation in the A-Tech Elite Automotive Technician Program.

Pride Joy Chitolie: Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Pride Joy Chitolie, and I’m also entering my fourth year of the automotive program here at A-Tech.

Hayes: I’m excited for this partnership because as a fellow car enthusiast it’s interesting to see how cars are evolving. The acceleration of EVs are unmatched, technology had made cars more e elaborate and capable more than ever before.

This partnership gives us an opportunity to get hands-on experience and present future EV technology. We would like to thank Mayor Adams for prioritizing this initiative and ensuring that we are prepared to service the vehicles of the future. I am personally…I am particularly invested into this because my brother is a current freshman in the program and he’s looking really forward to it. Thank you.

Chitolie: To add on to what my peer just stated, I’m also very excited about this partnership. Electric vehicles are the future. Their prevalence in society is increasing exponentially. This trend helps me and the world. Electric vehicles help address one of the major challenge of our lifetime, climate change.

We are grateful that Mayor Adams is committed to lowering emissions in New York City. Engaging in a program that has access to EVs will improve our employability profile and allow me to be more informed about the impact of EVs, making me more qualified for a variety of career paths.

Hayes: A-Tech has a unique opportunity with this partnership, and we plan to take full advantage.

Chitolie: Our success will ensure future A-Tech students benefit from this continued partnership, elevating our 21st century career readiness through the exploration of EV technology.

Mayor Adams: Thank you. Good job. Good job. We’ll do a few on topics.

Question: It has to do with the climate crisis, it’s not specifically about EVs [inaudible].

Question: Yes, I know, it’s on topic [inaudible]. Local Law 97 and how that’s, you know, supposed to lower emissions for [inaudible]. Your administration rolled out new rules kind of giving building owners an extension on how long they can wait until they come into compliance. Some environmental advocates are saying that this is showing that the city is not approaching the climate crisis with enough urgency and that extensions like that should not be allowed. I was wondering what your response is to that and if you can go into why those extensions were [inaudible].

Mayor Adams: Well, first, I think advocates are so important, because I was an advocate for many years around police reform and over-abusive policing. And they have a role, and I’m excited whenever we hear from them. They should constantly push us, push us, push us. And the application of how we get to where we want to get to, people are going to be excited with what this administration is doing.

We didn’t need a law to say we’re going to electrify our schools. We didn’t need a law to say we were going to change our vehicles to EVs in our fleet. We didn’t need a law on what we’re doing around construction sites. We are doing this not because we have to be nudged or pushed, because we know this is the right thing to do.

The decision we made is to deal with decreasing emissions, and the end results, people are going to see we were right. They should continue to advocate, they should continue to negotiate and continue to legislate, but we’re going to get this stuff done, and we know we’re going to do a good job in doing it. So, sometimes appreciation is retrospective, and we know people are going to appreciate this administration and what we’re doing.

Question: [Inaudible] reported getting a rideshare, all-electric rideshare. He basically just kicked it to the companies to make it happen. What is the city doing to make sure companies actually have an all-electric rideshare fleet so the technology and the cars aren’t just there yet.

Mayor Adams: Yes, and they’re excited to do so. You know, there’s nothing better than when you can create a partnership where people are willing to come to the table and say we want to get that done. Let’s give them an opportunity to actually execute how to get it done. They’re willing to do so. All those rideshare apps and companies are saying — Uber, Lyft — they know we have to get there. Let’s give them an opportunity to do so.

Question: Uber, Lyft, you know, drivers have to either rent their car or own their car, so you’re making drivers buy it, or what’s the role of the companies to make sure if they can’t afford that, that they get an electric car?

Mayor Adams: We want the companies to play a role. And you know, we have great partners in the City Council, great state lawmakers. If the companies don’t understand they have to play a role, then we’d be compelled to do legislation. Right now we think there’s a willingness to do it, let’s give them an opportunity to do it.

And we’re excited about this partnership, just as we’re excited about what Hertz is doing. No one legislated Hertz to go to EVs. The corporate community, they, too, are concerned about the environment. Let’s give them an opportunity to do so. Before we have to bring out the hammer of legislation, I think we can get to the destination

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