A diverse coalition is launching an exciting new campaign in New Jersey to highlight the importance of electric vehicles (EVs) to reducing climate-changing pollution, shielding drivers from roller-coaster oil prices, strengthening the grid and lowering utility bills for all customers.
The diverse coalition, of which NRDC is part, is called ChargEVC.
Its purpose is to promote policies—initially in New Jersey, where transportation is the largest single source of carbon pollution—to put more EVs on the road. If successful, the campaign could become a national model for growing the electric vehicle market in other states.
The campaign comes at a critical time:
- More moderately priced, longer-range EVs – capable of traveling 200 miles between charges – are coming on the market. The mass-market Chevy Bolt, for example, is expected to arrive in showrooms soon.
- EVs are stirring up enthusiasm, as evidenced by the stampede of nearly 400,000 people who put down $1,000 each to reserve a Tesla Model 3 sedan, including 180,000 orders in just the first 24 hours. Other car makers are ramping up production of affordable EVs, too.
- The public has become increasingly concerned about the dangers of climate change.
New Jersey is a fitting site for the new campaign to grow the EV market.
The state already has witnessed the power of extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy. The storm led to significant loss of life and tens of billions of dollars in economic damage in the Garden State.
New Jersey also is a "hotspot for sea-level rise" facing increased risk for flooding and extreme heat. One report noted that increased temperatures by mid-century will make New Jersey feel more like Birmingham, Ala.
The campaign comes as neighboring New York has moved to grow its EV market through Charge NY, its Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative, consumer rebates and other initiatives recognizing the significant economic, health and environmental benefits.
ChargEVC, made up of technology companies, utilities, environmental groups and others, plans to publish “The NJ EV Roadmap” early next year providing recommendations to promote EV use, including expanding charging infrastructure.
The group also will seek to educate the public about the numerous benefits of EVs, which include:
- Lower fuel bills: EVs, the cleanest vehicles on the road, run on the cost equivalent of $1 per gallon gasoline. They also insulate drivers from the wild price swings of the volatile oil market.
- Cleaner air: EVs are not only cleaner than gasoline-powered cars but can bring more clean energy such as solar and wind power onto the grid. They also reduce other harmful tailpipe pollutants, such as ozone and particulate matter that harm public health and the environment.
- Lower utility bills for all customers. Electrifying the transportation sector can generate new revenues for utilities, which can lead to lower utility bills for all customers. Charging EVs during hours when the grid is underutilized increases utility revenues without commensurate increases in costs, putting downward pressure on electricity rates.
Founding members of ChargEVC are A.F. Mensah, an energy technology company; Atlantic City Electric/Exelon, charging station company ChargePoint; Environmental Defense Fund; Environment New Jersey; EVGo, another charging station company; Independent Energy Producers of New Jersey; self-reliant family and sustainable community non-profit Isles, Inc.; New Jersey Clean Cities Coalition; New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers, Inc.; New Jersey Work Environment Council; Rockland Electric Company; Public Service Electric & Gas Company and NRDC. The group’s work is supported by Gabel Associates.
More and more people – and policy makers – are recognizing the need to shift to EVs.
During the Paris climate talks, leaders from 13 jurisdictions from North America and Europe announced an International Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Alliance and set a goal "to make all passenger vehicle sales in our jurisdictions ZEVs as fast as possible, and no later than 2050."
California, where Gov. Jerry Brown has set a goal of putting one million electric vehicles on the state's roads by 2023, has moved aggressively to expand charging stations and educate the public about the benefits of driving in electricity. Even in Michigan, the century-old auto industry is undergoing a transition toward clean energy vehicles.
It’s time for New Jersey to join the stampede.
By the way, EVs are fun to drive, too.