Electric Vehicles Get a Jump Start in the Northeast

Today New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced that New Jersey, along with the other members of the Transportation and Climate Initiative, have received a federal grant of nearly $1 million to start planning a network of charging stations for electric vehicles. The initiative is expected to spur job creation and the use of electric vehicles (EVs).

The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to the Transportation and Climate Initiative which is comprised of 11 states in the Northeast and the District of Columbia. The Initiative was launched in June 2010 with the goal of reducing greenhouse gases in the transportation sector and helping build a clean energy economy. In New Jersey, nearly 40% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector.

The proposed Electric Vehicle Network is intended to enable EV drivers to be able to use their vehicles easily throughout the Northeast from northern New England to Washington, D.C. In addition, it hopes to attract private investment with consistent standards and regulations across the region. The project will develop a plan and guidance documents for the development of a network of charging stations.

According to Commissioner Martin,

Improving air quality in New Jersey is a top priority of the Christie Administration. But in addition to helping us reduce auto emissions and improving the health of our residents, this new network will provide an economic boost to the State through the creation of new green jobs in research and production of electric cars and electric vehicle infrastructure.

The proposed network dovetails with EV activities already underway in New Jersey. Several bills mandating EV charging stations in turnpike service stations and new shopping center developments are currently pending before the New Jersey Legislature. In addition, Avalon unveiled an EV charging station on August 5, 2011, touting it as the first charging station at the Jersey shore.

These are important developments for the EV market. Consumers will not buy EVs unless they are confident that they can find a charging station away from home as easily as they can find a gas station. Anticipating that need, Google added the locations of EV charging stations to their maps in March, 2011.

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