Electric Vehicles are Ready to Roll in New Jersey

Media Contacts

Environment New Jersey

Montclair, NJ—With the right policies in place, plug-in vehicles can reduce oil dependence in New Jersey by over 3 million gallons per year, according to a new report released today by Environment New Jersey.

“It’s time to plug in, power up, and protect our planet because plug-in vehicles have arrived here in New Jersey,” said Doug O’Malley, Interim Director at Environment New Jersey.

According to the Environment New Jersey report, Charging Forward: The Emergence of Electric Vehicles and Their Role in Reducing Oil Consumption, over 13,100 drivers in New Jersey could purchase their first plug-in vehicle within the next three years.  Overall these vehicles will reduce New Jersey’s global warming pollution by almost 20 thousand metric tons per year.  If the plug-in vehicles are powered by clean sources of electricity, these savings will rise to nearly 55 thousand metric tons per year.

“For decades, owning a car has meant consuming oil. Today, drivers finally have a choice,” said O’Malley. “Thanks in part to smart policies in New Jersey and from the Obama administration, every major automobile manufacturer is offering a new plug-in vehicle powered primarily by electricity. For the first time, we can power our cars with clean energy.”

Environment New Jersey was joined by Chuck Feinberg, Chairman of the New Jersey Clean Cities Coalition; Tom Moloughney, Electric Car owner and advocate; Robert D. Jackson, Mayor of Montclair; Jerry Fried, former Mayor of Montclair; and Gray Russell, Montclair Environmental Affairs Coordinator, in releasing today’s report.

“Transitioning individual and fleet vehicles off of petroleum and on to alternative domestic fuels is a critical step for all of us,” said Feinberg. “We need to do it not just for environmental reasons, but also for our economic security and energy independence. The alternatives are here now, and more are coming!”

Molougney added, “Transitioning to electric vehicles will accomplish many goals. They will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and in doing so allow us to spend our energy dollars on domestically produced electricity, which creates jobs and invests in our local economy. All this while improving the quality of air we breath.”

 “The regional grid that supplies our electricity is getting cleaner and greener, while fossil fuel extraction is getting dirtier and more expensive,” said Russell. “Eventually every downtown business district, shopping mall, and movie theater parking lot will provide these charging points, or they will lose out to those that do.”

In Washington, President Obama has proposed fuel efficiency standards that Environment New Jersey credits as being the most important step ever taken to build clean, advanced technology cars that will get us off oil. His administration has also made investments in critical technologies, such as advanced batteries and high powered charging stations.

“Here in New Jersey, the Clean Cars program has helped ensure that New Jersey drivers continue to have a choice between vehicles powered by oil and advanced, high-tech vehicles powered by clean energy,” said O’Malley. This year, New Jersey will have an opportunity to continue to build on this critical program through federal clean car rules that will help us build over 1.4 million electric vehicles by 2025.

The Environment New Jersey report shows the impressive technological breakthroughs that have helped move plug-in vehicles into the fast lane, from advanced batteries that have dropped in price by over 80 percent, to super-fast charging stations that have reduced charge times by over 90 percent.

To make plug-in vehicles a choice for more consumers, Environment New Jersey’s report calls for more work to be done to build the infrastructure of the charging stations that can service these vehicles, as well as more investment in the technologies that will drive down prices.

Currently, New Jersey ranks 18th in the country in total number of vehicle charging stations. Environment New Jersey also called on state and federal leaders to help plug-in vehicles achieve the greatest possible pollution reductions by adopting policies that will ensure we get more of our electricity from clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar power.

Several policy proposals are being debated in the New Jersey Legislature regarding these electric vehicles. Assembly legislation has called for business and income tax credits for purchasers of electric car charging stations, aiming to provide more locations for drivers to re-charge.

Others have argued for mandating the construction of charging stations in the parking lots of rest-stops along New Jersey toll-roads, as well in new shopping centers. These efforts are a step in the right direction for enhancing the public infrastructure available for electric car owners and future-owners.
Assemblyman Peter Barnes (D-Middlesex) is advocating for special parking spots for alternative fuel vehicles located next to handi-cap spots.

The Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt remain the most popular electric cars on the market, yet competitors are not far behind. Ford plans to promote its new fully electric Focus as well as the C-Max Energi, scheduled to hit dealerships this fall. Toyota, the pioneer of the first hybrid vehicle (the Prius), is producing the first fully electric SUV, the RAV4 EV and should be finished by 2013. Other companies like Honda, Mitsubishi, and Smart will also have electric vehicles in their lineups by 2013.

“Electric vehicles offer all Americans hope for a cleaner, healthier future. But to make this promise a reality, continued public investment will be necessary to ensure that these vehicles are as convenient and as affordable as cars powered by oil,” concluded O’Malley.

Environment New Jersey is a citizen-funded non partisan environmental advocacy group dedicated to protecting clean water, clean air, and open space here in New Jersey.