The New Jersey Economic Development Authority is opening applications for its expansion of an electric truck state subsidy program geared toward businesses in dozens of cities up and down the state—now including the Jersey Shore and some of the state’s most impoverished urban centers.
State officials say the goal of the New Jersey Zero-Emission Incentive Program is to entice businesses that rely on commercial trucking to phase out their gasoline-powered vehicles with the cleaner electric alternatives.
An initial pilot program of $15 million was set up earlier this year, restricted to companies within 10 miles of Newark and Camden, considered some of the areas worst-hit by truck carbon emissions and other pollution in the state.
So far, applications equaling $8.9 million worth of state vouchers to cover the costs of electric trucks have been approved, and $18.9 million in applications received.
In total, nearly $45 million has been allocated to the program, including this latest round of $20 million, the NJEDA said.
As part of the expansion announced Wednesday, the program is being rolled out to businesses based out of the dozens of communities along the Jersey Shore, including Asbury Park, Atlantic City, Lakewood, Long Branch, Middletown, Ocean City, Pleasantville, Seaside Heights, Point Pleasant Beach, and the Wildwoods.
“Our shore communities have repeatedly experienced the long-term impacts of climate change over the last decade and it is incumbent upon us to continue to create and leverage innovative solutions to blunt these effects,” NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan said, with climate change-included storms and major flooding becoming more commonplace.
Commercial and industrial operations based out of a municipality within 10 miles of Camden, Newark and New Brunswick are also eligible.
Gov. Phil Murphy said he hopes to get 330,000 electric cars – not including trucks – on New Jersey’s roads by 2025, which would necessitate rebates for car-buyers and a build-up of the state’s electric vehicle-charging infrastructure.
Those goals are part of a broader bid by the Murphy administration to make the state entirely reliant on clean, renewable energy by 2050, which includes a 2035 goal of the 7.5 gigawatts off offshore wind capacity.
President Joe Biden’s now-approved infrastructure bill could include $104 million for the state’s EV infrastructure, while the proposed congressional spending bill would include EV rebates of $12,500 for car-buyers.
“NJ ZIP sits at the intersection of clean energy and environmental justice,” reads a Dec. 1 statement from Sullivan.
The size of the voucher depends on the size of the vehicle, with smaller trucks getting vouchers closer to the minimum award size of $25,000, and larger ones getting closer to the maximum award size of $100,000.
There are bonuses for small businesses – those with up 25 employees or $5 million of annual revenue, and for women, minority and veteran-owned businesses.