Electric vehicle proponents look for a plug from New Jersey

Advocates are urging New Jersey officials to do more to encourage the use of electric vehicles throughout the state.

Pamela Frank, the CEO of the ChargeEVC coalition, said electric vehicles costs are too high for most consumers — and she said creating a $300 million fund to provide rebates would make them more affordable.

“Giving a $5,000 cash rebate at the point of sale — and having that rebate decline by $500 for each $100 million bloc allocated — would give us 67,000 new cars on the road with a plug, in three years,” Frank said.

The coalition also wants the state to set goals for installation of more charging stations.

The Legislature will act early in next year’s session on bills to accelerate the use of electric vehicles, promised Senate Environment and Energy Committee Chairman Bob Smith. The hard part, he said will be finding the money, but he said some funds could come from the societal benefit charge on utility bills.

“I would say a way to get this really off the ground is to appropriate $150 million of the money that’s not being used properly, per year, for three years for new infrastructure and to stimulate the sale of electronic vehicles,” he said.

Smith said it’ll be easier to enact measures to stimulate the electric vehicle market when Gov. Chris Christie leaves office early next year.

“I mean, you know how many bills we’ve passed that have been vetoed in the energy area and in the environmental area? Every day I cross off my calendar. I can’t wait until Jan. 18, when we swear in a new governor,” he said. “I think it will be a whole different world in about four months.”

Advocates say widespread adoption of electric vehicles would reduce pollution and improve air quality. There are now about 10,000 of electric cars in use in New Jersey, and the electric car proponents’ goal is to boost that number to 350,000 by 2025.

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