N.J. asked to help electric car owners plug in, turn on, drive out

An electric charging station is located in the  garage at the New Jersey Statehouse. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

An electric charging station is located in the garage at the New Jersey Statehouse. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Some New Jersey lawmakers say the state should do more to encourage the installation of electric vehicle charging stations.

Nearly 200 public and 44 private locations in New Jersey allow electric cars to plug in to recharge.

Assembly Environment Committee chairman Tim Eustace, who drives an electric car, said more recharging sites would ease potential owners’ anxiety about not having enough power to get where they need to go.

“We’ve introduced bills for the last five years to try and have an electric vehicle infrastructure in New Jersey, and they’ve been vetoed roundly by the governor’s national agenda,” said Eustace, D-Bergen. “He’s back in the Statehouse now. We’re hoping he moves forward.

“This is a great way to do private-public partnerships and a great way to advance jobs and technology in the state of New Jersey.”

Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker also urged an expanded infrastructure for electric vehicles.

“The idea that we need to build out and make it as easy as possible for New Jersey residents to purchase and drive electric cars is key to driving an innovation economy here in New Jersey,” said Zwicker, D-Middlesex.

A state grant program helps employers pay for charging stations their workers can use.

The lawmakers want the state to require more of them at toll-road rest stops.

New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittle said more than 2,500 residents in the state now own plug-in vehicles.

“What people don’t realize is not only will they save you a lot of money when it comes to gas, but they’re pollution free and they’re much easier to maintain than a normal automobile,” he said. “So you’ll drive a lot farther, a lot cheaper, and a lot longer with electric vehicles.”

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