NJDEP Marks National Drive Electric Week

Expanding Grants to Fund Vehicle Charging Stations
Sep 12, 2018

The N.J. Department of Environmental Protection is commemorating National Drive Electric Week – this week – by expanding a grant program, It Pay$ to Plug In, to fund installation of electric vehicle charging stations throughout the state. National Drive Electric Week draws attention to plug-in vehicles and highlights the benefits and availability of all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars, trucks and motorcycles.

Gov. Phil Murphy, in declaring the event, pointed to the strong link between vehicle emissions and emissions that contribute to climate change.

And as Assistant Commissioner for Air Quality, Energy and Sustainability Paul Baldauf stated, “We are especially committed to the benefits of electric vehicles and clean energy because transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the state. For healthy families and a healthy climate, we must work toward zero-emission vehicles by building a robust network of electric vehicle infrastructure statewide.”

According to the DEP, cars and light trucks produce about 30 percent of ozone-forming air pollutants. Ground-level ozone – or smog – is the state’s most persistent health-related air pollution problem. Ozone worsens chronic lung illnesses such as asthma and emphysema, particularly in vulnerable populations, including children and senior citizens.

“Electric vehicles are a vital part of the future of clean transportation, and greater use of electric vehicles will reduce pollution and improve the quality of our air,” said Baldauf. “Driving an electric vehicle substantially reduces harmful emissions compared with driving a gasoline-powered vehicle.”

Applications are being accepted now for the expanded It Pay$ to Plug In program, which will provide grants of up to $6,000 per charging station for chargers in public places, work places and multi-family homes. The program is open to businesses, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and educational institutions, as well as apartment complexes and condominiums. To date, It Pay$ to Plug In has awarded nearly $850,000 for 186 charging stations, mostly at work places.

Currently, the state has more than 600 public chargers at 250 locations. In addition, five state highways – Interstates 95, 295, and sections of Interstates 80, 78 and 287 – have been federally designated as “Electric Vehicle Corridors,” where fast chargers allow for easy electric travel. Those highways connect to electric vehicle corridors in neighboring states and throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

The state launched its “Drive Green New Jersey” initiative in 2016, and this past May, Murphy signed the Multi-State Zero-Emission Vehicle Memorandum of Understanding, through which New Jersey works collaboratively with eight other states to support the deployment of zero-emission vehicles.

New Jersey also offers a 6.6-percent state tax exemption on the sale, lease or rental of both new and pre-owned battery electric vehicles; streamlined permitting for installation of home chargers; exemption from emission inspections; and a one-stop electric vehicle website, Drive Green New Jersey.

And later this year, the DEP will roll out a series of Electric Vehicle Ride & Drive events to give consumers an opportunity to test drive multiple electric vehicle models and speak with electric vehicle owners, experts and enthusiasts.

For information about It Pay$ to Plug In, as well as electric vehicle choices, state and federal incentives, charging options and charging station locations, visit https://www.drivegreen.nj.gov.

To find a local National Drive Electric Week event, visit driveelectricweek.org/events.php.

Juliet Kaszas-Hoch


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