Electric Vehicles – Charging Ahead in New Jersey

In early 2011, several bills were introduced to encourage the installation of Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations. Senator Greenstein introduced Senate bill 2603, in January, which would require the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the South Jersey Turnpike Authority to provide EV charging stations at the service areas along the toll roads, allocating 5% of the parking spaces to EV stations. The bill was reported out of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee on February 14. In March, another bill, S2784, also introduced by Senator Greenstein, would require new shopping center developments to allocate 5% of the parking spaces to EV charging stations. Both of these bills have been sitting since the Spring. Nonetheless, even in the absence of legislative mandates, EV stations have been popping up in NJ and NY. One of the newest ones announced is in Avalon, NJ.

Touted as the first EV charging station at the Jersey shore, Avalon opened its 24 hour charging station on August 5 in front of its public safety building. Under a public-private arrangement with U-Go Stations, the firm has built and will maintain the charging station and pay the town a percentage of the revenue generated. At the moment, there is not much competition. A search of EV charging stations within 150 miles of Newark, revealed 73 charging stations, two of them in Newark itself and the majority of them in Manhattan and Connecticut. Many of the locations are public parking lots, anticipating the future needs of their customers. Others are colleges and universities. In Connecticut, a number of Whole Foods markets have EV charging stations.

It is unclear exactly who is using these charging stations now. The first battery electric car, the Nissan Leaf, was introduced in December 2010, although other major manufacturers have announced the development of EVs. Moreover, the number of EVs is likely to increase because of new fuel efficiency standards announced requiring cars and trucks to meet the equivalent of 54 mph by 2025.

Recently, Nissan announced that it was developing a system for the Leaf to power households from its battery. Just think, in the future you can run to Whole Foods in your Leaf for a quart of milk and some extra electricity to run the household.

Susanne Peticolas is a Director in the Real Property & Environmental Department.

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