Advocates Want NJ To Encourage Use Of Electric Vehicles

Sep 13, 2017

Senate Environment and Energy Committee chairman Bob Smith

Advocates are urging New Jersey officials to do more to encourage the use of electric vehicles.

Pamela Frank is CEO of the ChargeEVC coalition. She says the costs of electric vehicles are too high for many consumers and creating a $300 million fund to provide rebates would make them more affordable.

"Giving a $5,000 cash rebate at the point of sale and having that rebate decline by $500 for each $100 million bloc allocated would give us 67,000 new cars on the road with a plug in three years."

The coalition also wants the state to set goals for installing more charging stations.

Senate Environment and Energy Committee chairman Bob Smith believes the legislature will act early in next year's session on bills to accelerate the use of electric vehicles.  He says the hard part will be finding the money but he says some funds could come from the societal benefit charge on utility bills.

"I would say a way to get this really off the ground is to appropriate $150 million of the money that's not being used properly per year for three years for new infrastructure and to stimulate the sale of electronic vehicles."

Smith believes it’ll be easier to enact measures to stimulate the electric vehicle market when Governor Christie leaves office.

“I mean you know how many bills we’ve passed that have been vetoed in the energy area and in the environmental area? Every day I cross off my calendar. I can’t wait until January 18th when we swear in a new governor. I think it will be a whole different world in about four months.”

Advocates say widespread adoption of electric vehicles would reduce pollution and improve air quality. There are now about 10,000 of those vehicles in use in New Jersey, and the advocates’ goal is to boost that number to 350,000 by 2025.