Sen. Greenstein and Mayor Cohen Call for Passage of Electric Vehicle Bill At East Brunswick EV Ride-and-Drive Event
Senator Linda Greenstein and East Brunswick Mayor Brad Cohen joined with Environment New Jersey and Keep Middlesex Moving to take electric cars for a test drive and call for the passage of S2252/A4819 during the lame duck legislative session to electrify New Jersey's roads through a network of EV charging stations across the state.East Brunswick -- Senator Linda Greenstein and East Brunswick Mayor Brad Cohen joined with Environment New Jersey and Keep Middlesex Moving to take electric cars -- and the promise of a zero carbon transportation future for New Jersey -- for a test drive. Municipal officials and East Brunswick residents tried out cars like the Jaguar iPace, Chevy Bolt, and Tesla Model 3 after local leaders and environmental advocates called for the passage of S2252/A4819 during the lame duck legislative session, saying the electric vehicle bill would ease the transition to cleaner, greener, electrified vehicle travel in New Jersey.
“Electric vehicles are here now, and New Jersey needs to do more to make it easier to plug in,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. “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 needs to be a top priority for the Legislature during the lame duck legislative session. This bill can make New Jersey a national leader but we need the Legislature to act in the next eight plus weeks.”
Climate change is a major threat to New Jersey, with more than 300,00 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 Senator Linda Greenstein (D-14), a primary sponsor of the bill. “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.”
To tackle the nearly 50% of greenhouse gas emissions that come from New Jersey’s transportation sector, legislators introduced S2252/A4819, which 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, a huge step to decrease range anxiety of EV owners. The bill would also codify the Clean Cars mandate of 330,000 EVs on the road by 2025. Given that each electric vehicle is about 70% cleaner than a petroleum-fueled vehicle, this would drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
“I would like to thank Environment New Jersey for selecting East Brunswick as the place to spotlight the energy efficient benefits of electric vehicles,” said East Brunswick’s Mayor Brad Cohen. “We share their commitment to energy practices and policies that provide for a more sustainable community.”
In the most densely populated state in the country, with 9 million people, New Jersey has more than 3 million registered vehicles, and New Jerseyans suffer from some of the worst regional air pollution. According to the American Lung Association’s 2019 State of the Air report, Middlesex County failed to meet ozone protection levels under current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) health standards. Middlesex County suffered 26 orange alert days and has more than 31,668 pediatric and adult asthmatics.
"Municipalities around New Jersey are excited to learn how to make electric vehicles part of their transportation future," said Bill Neary, the former mayor of East Brunswick and executive director of Keep Middlesex Moving. "Most local governments are all in on electric vehicles, and this bill would set clear goals and make detailed plans for how we can get more zero-emission cars on the road as quickly as possible."
Mercer County can benefit from electrifying the cars, trucks, and buses that travel throughout the region, but needs more than the charging stations already installed in the county to support that transition. The passage of S2252/A4819 would be a landmark step to increase electric vehicle accessibility and affordability, but despite its positive environmental and public health benefits, the bill needs to move through multiple committees in both legislative houses. The bill only has until the end of this current legislative session on January 13, 2020 to pass.
“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. Consumers are just now becoming aware that New Jersey new car dealers currently offer more than 60 models of electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid vehicles from 25 different manufacturers. The really exciting news is that dozens more are expected in the next few years.”
“Large scale electrification of personal vehicles, public transit and goods movement are key to clean air and mitigating climate change at the local level,“ stated Amy Goldsmith, the state director for Clean Water Action. “Keeping New Jersey’s electric vehicle bill on the move and over the finish line during lame duck is essential. This is a race that we have to win first place. This will ensure healthy residents, vibrant communities and economy. This game changing energy policy is critical to moving towards zero emission vehicles as quickly and equitably as possible. This is especially important for neighborhoods disproportionately and adversely impacted by the current gas and diesel driven transportation system.”
“Increasing the number of electric vehicles on the road is a crucial step to meeting New Jersey’s emissions reduction goals,” said Debra Coyle McFadden, executive director of New Jersey Work Environment Council. “Transitioning our transportation infrastructure to electric is an opportunity to create good paying jobs, improve public health by reducing air pollution along well-traveled routes and mitigate our impact on the changing climate.”
Our cars and trucks emit tailpipe pollution, including ozone, the main ingredient in smog that can trigger asthma attacks. Not surprisingly, the transportation sector is the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions in the state. But with the passage of S2252/A4819, New Jersey could become a national leader and model 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 make New Jersey a national EV market leader. 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.
Environment New Jersey is a statewide policy and action group. Our staff and members work to protect the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment. For more information, please visit www.environmentnewjersey.org.