Gov. Phil Murphy approved a bill Wednesday encouraging municipalities to develop plans on how to accommodate the increasing presence of electric vehicles, as his administration pushes for an environmentally-friendly “green economy.”
The measure, Senate Bill 606, asks each local government to take a look at where in their towns they could build charging stations for electric vehicles, part of a broader push to make it easier for these cars to get around.
Local governments can also include the addition of charging stations and the surrounding infrastructure into their “redevelopment plan.”
Still, environmental advocates were critical that the measure falls short of another proposal with more teeth to it: Senate Bill 2252. That bill would actually appropriate $100 million to various state agencies to ramp up the amount of public and private charging stations.
They are currently serviced by 235 public charging stations and 533 private charging outlets, such as those at a retail outlets, according to the U.S Department of Energy.
Proponents of electric cars argue that they have a much lower carbon footprint than traditional gasoline-powered vehicles. But with the lack of a charging-station infrastructure, many would-be users might be discouraged from purchasing such a car.
S2252 calls for the installation of 600 fast-charging stations in 200 locations by January 2020, meaning owners can charge their cars in as little as 15 minutes.
The bill also calls for 1,000 slower-charging stations and at least 330,000 registered electric vehicles by the end of 2025, and 2 million total EV’s on the road a decade later.
Rebates would go toward low-income purchasers and lessees, and those who trade in an older, non-electric vehicle which is scrapped at the time of purchase. The rebates would be limited to $5,000 a vehicle. The program would also offer car dealerships a $300 incentive for every zero-emission vehicle they sold.
“This law is a good step, but we need a comprehensive electric vehicle bill like S2252 passed to advance EVs and especially EV infrastructure in our state,” reads a Nov. 6 statement from Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, an environmental advocacy group.
“We should be doing more, such as requiring new developments to have charging station,” he added. “We also need to retrofit existing developments to implement charging stations.”
To that end, the Board of Public Utilities in December approved an economic incentive program they would run jointly with the state’s Department of Environmental Protection to boost the purchasing of charging stations.
It would set aside $240,000 put in jointly by the BPU and DEP to help offset the costs of buying and installing a charging station.