TRENTON, NJ - Improving the state's air quality is the impetus for a new grant program that can help employers offset the installation cost for electric vehicle charging stations, and a new website portal to educate the public about electric vehicles.
The state Department of Environmental Protection and state Board of Public Utilities have teamed together to launch the grant program "It Pays To Plug In," according to the DEP's Bob Martin and BPU President Richard S. Mroz.
The first phase of the program offers $725,000 in reimbursement grants to employers to offset some of the costs to purchase and install the stations, while also encouraging employees to ultimately purchase and drive electric vehicles to work. In turn, the use of more electric vehicles on New Jersey's roads will reduce the amount of tailpipe emissions that affect air quality, according to Martin.
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The new "Drive Green New Jersey" initiative and website provide information about the different types of electric vehicles available, how to charge them, affordability, and impact on air quality, as well as a variety of useful links for consumers.
"Electric vehicles can play a critical role in helping to improve our air quality," Martin said. "This new grant program, in addition to the current incentives available in our state, can help improve the affordability of this innovative and proven technology that benefits all New Jersey residents."
Reimbursement grants are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis of up to $250 for each Level 1 charging station installed, and up to $5,000 for each Level 2 charging station installed. Level 2 stations provide more mileage range for electric vehicles than Level 1 stations.
Eligible employers include public, private, for-profit, nonprofit, educational and governmental entities. Owners of parking facilities used by commuters or employees of other companies are also eligible.
"Today's announced joint effort to incentivize workplace electric vehicle charging stations is yet another step in the implementation of Gov. Christie's State Energy Master Plan and recognizes its stated goal of encouraging greater use of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles by improving and expanding the infrastructure needed to support the use of alternative-fueled vehicles throughout New Jersey," Mroz said.
"We are also happy that those who are interested in learning more about alternative-fueled vehicles can access the 'Drive Green New Jersey' website as part of the state's efforts to fulfill the Energy Master Plan's call for increased education of consumers regarding energy conservation, renewable energy and technology advancements that they can implement to save on energy expenses, reduce energy costs for all ratepayers and contribute to a cleaner environment," Mroz added.
"If you can charge your electric vehicle at home and you can charge it at work, that goes a long way to relieving range anxiety, which is a well-known barrier to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles," said John Giordano, DEP's assistant commissioner for Air Quality, Energy and Sustainability.
"The state recognizes that a key to the success of any new technology is public buy-in, and to gain that, the public needs to be well-informed. Our new 'Drive Green New Jersey' initiative does just that, and presents the information in an easily relatable format that targets the questions the public needs answers to about electric vehicles."
Emissions from vehicles are a primary cause of ground-level ozone - also known as smog - during summer months.
To learn more about the "It Pays To Plug In" grant reimbursement program, including eligibility criteria, visit:www.drivegreen.nj.gov/programs.html
For more information about the Drive Green New Jersey website portal, visit: www.drivegreen.nj.gov