|The food truck trend is already pretty popular in many major cities across the country, partly because of the convenience provided by mobile food carts and partly because its possible to get a decent meal for under $10.
But New York City is taking the food truck to a whole new level with hundreds of new sidewalk carts that are powered by solar panels.
The City Council partnered with MOVE Systems to provide 500 free carts to sidewalk vendors in a pilot program. The carts are called MRV100 Hybrids, and according to reports from the Wall Street Journal and International Business Times,each cart is fully equipped with a state-of-the-art kitchen and HVAC system.
The kitchen and HVAC systems will be powered by rooftop solar panels and come with a rechargeable battery pack. A backup generator powered by natural gas is also included if extra energy is needed.
Experts predict that the new carts will reduce greenhouse gas pollution by 60%, and will reduce nitrous oxide chemicals (which cause city smog) by 95%.
With so many businesses suddenly turning into consumers of solar energy, it actually seems plausible that a new solar panel system will be installed every 20 seconds by 2016. These carts may even help the city reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 80% of 2005’s gas emissions by 2050.
As an added bonus, the carts also come equipped with credit card payment systems powered by First Data. The New York Daily News reports that it will be the first time some of these vendors can accept credit cards — and many recipients are certain that this will boost business even more.
The first 100 carts will be given out to disabled veterans on a first-come first-serve basis, and the carts will be leased out, at no cost, for a period of five years.
According to city officials, there is already a waiting list of more than 150 vendors who hope to snag a cart when they start rolling out on NYC streets shortly after Memorial Day.