HAMILTON, NJ – Seeking to turbo charge the effort to pass legislation that would establish goals, initiatives, and programs to encourage and support the use of plug-in electric vehicles in New Jersey, Senator Linda Greenstein, Assemblyman Daniel Benson, and Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo partnered with Environment New Jersey, Jersey Renews, and other advocates  at a Friday press conference to push electric cars as a key part of a zero carbon transportation future for the state. 

Hamilton residents, who tried out cars like the AudieTron, Chevy Bolt, and Tesla Model 3, supported the call by local leaders and environmental advocates for the passage of Senate Bill 2252 (S-2252) sponsored by Greenstein, and it's companion Assembly Bill  4819 (A-4819) authored by Benson.   The group called for quick action on the bill during the so-called "lame-duck" legislative session in the coming two months.  

Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey, said the electric vehicle bill would ease the transition to cleaner, greener, electrified vehicle travel in New Jersey.

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“Electric vehicles are here now, and New Jersey needs to do more to make it easier to plug in,” said O'Malley.  “Electrifying our transportation sector is one of the most critical things we can do to fight air pollution and climate change. By taking steps to improve our EV infrastructure and accelerate the transition to electric transportation, New Jersey can create a roadmap for other states to follow.

"This bill can make New Jersey a national leader, but we need the Legislature to act in the next eight plus weeks," said O'Malley

According to Environment New Jersey, climate change in New Jersey places the more than 300,000 people living in coastal areas in danger from rising sea levels, flooding, and more frequent and devastating storms. The state is warming at twice the rate of the United States and is expected to see a doubling of 90-degree days in New Jersey’s cities by mid-century.

“Climate change is already affecting New Jersey, and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector are just making it worse,” said  Greenstein. “That’s why I’m pushing to pass this bill as quickly as possible. It will make it cheaper and easier for New Jerseyans to buy electric cars, find places to plug in, and will be a huge step towards reducing carbon emissions.”

In an effort to reduce the nearly 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions that come from New Jersey’s transportation sector, the proposed law would expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure and rebates for buying electric cars. The bill would establish a statewide plan for installing at least 600 public DC fast chargers and Level 2 public community chargers at 1,000 locations or more across the state in the next two years.

“While we are already seeing the devastating effects of climate change, it is our duty as legislators to put goals in place and programs in motion that will make New Jersey cleaner and healthier,” said Benson, also a prime sponsor of the bill. “Not only are electric vehicles a critical tool to combat climate change, their increased use will create good, sustainable infrastructure jobs.”

The measure would codify the Clean Cars mandate of 330,000 EVs on the road by 2025. Given that each electric vehicle is about 70 percent cleaner than a petroleum-fueled vehicle, this would drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

“Getting electric vehicles out and on the road is crucial to fighting climate change and creating jobs through innovation. Luckily, more and more New Jerseyans are making their next car an electric vehicle,” said DeAngelo, a co-sponsor of the legislation. “Our state needs to hold up its end of the bargain in making these vehicles as convenient as any other car on the road.”

“New Jersey new car and truck dealers are all-in on electric vehicles,” said Jim Appleton, president of the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers. “With an extensive network of more than 500 locations across the state to display, demonstrate, and service electric vehicles, New Jersey’s neighborhood new car dealers offer the best, most promising way to market and promote EVs to the broadest cross-section of potential new car buyers."

“By passing the EV bill, the NJ Legislature has an opportunity to improve public health, spur economic development and take a bold step to tackle climate change at a time the Trump Administration is formally withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement.” said Debra Coyle McFadden, executive director of New Jersey Work Environment Council.

The coalition believes that passage of this legislation would place New Jersey at the forefront nationally for addressing climate change by encouraging widespread adoption of electric vehicles.

“We thank our bill sponsors for their leadership on the EV bill,” said Pam Frank, vice-president of Gabel Associates and CEO of ChargEVC. “It’s been a long road and we have come to the place where we must all work together to get this bill over the finish line before the end of the year. Doing so will also put us on a path to deliver widespread economic and unprecedented environmental benefits for all of us in New Jersey.”

“For New Jersey to combat climate change and meet our goals to reduce emissions, we need to make the switch to EVs as soon as possible. The time is now to pass S2252/A4819 and make electric vehicles more accessible, affordable, and practical for all New Jerseyans,” said Amy Folkerts, Environment New Jersey’s Clean Energy Associate.   

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