Why major N.J. companies are pushing for bills to support more electric vehicles

By Alex Wolmart
Trenton | Feb 20, 2019 at 12:49 pm

Twelve major investors and companies with significant operations or investments in New Jersey — including Hackensack Meridian Health, Unilever and JLL — are calling on lawmakers to pass bills they are calling bold electric vehicle legislation.

In a letter to the Legislature on Wednesday, the group said bills S2252/A4819 are “well-designed policies to accelerate our transition to a clean, modern transportation system.”

Key elements of the bills include an EV rebate program, major investments through a public-private development ecosystem in accessible, affordable and convenient public-charging infrastructure, and bold statewide goals for EV adoption, including a goal of 90 percent EV sales by 2040, the letter said.

Pam Frank, CEO of ChargEVC, a nonprofit trade association and coalition of diverse stakeholders, told ROI-NJ the bill would have major impact.

Frank said the bill recognizes the things you need to do to really move the market.

“One is awareness,” she said. “You can’t begin to advertise to people or educate people until they’re even aware this technology exists, and there is a breathtaking lack of awareness about this.

“The second is infrastructure, because, for most people, the No. 1 barrier to getting an electric vehicle is the fear of running out of charge. This has been documented multiple times, all over the country, in many states. We call it range anxiety.

“The third thing is bridging the affordability gaps. Other states have put in place rebates, buydowns for the cars. They did it in Atlanta, Georgia, and overnight became the No. 1 market for EVs.

“The fourth thing is ensuring the broadest benefits for the most people by smart charging.

“The last thing is goals. You need to set goals to know where you want to get to.”

Frank said she is hopeful the bills will advance.

“I can’t find one person in legislative leadership yet that says electric vehicles are a bad idea,” she said. “Everybody likes it. Everybody supports it.”

Read the letter below.