The New Jersey Economic Development Authority not only added $45 million for NJ ZIP, doubling the funding available for its electric vehicle voucher program for municipalities, it made two huge changes to its eligibility rules: The program is now statewide, and heavy-duty vehicle classes are now eligible.
The program, which incentivizes municipalities to use zero-emission vehicles, was previously only available in four pilot areas (Newark and Camden at its onset and then New Brunswick and the Greater Shore area). The strong response from those areas necessitated the changes.
The NJEDA anticipates opening applications, including those for businesses in newly eligible parts of the state, in the coming months. Vouchers will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Click here for more information.
As of last month, the EDA had approved 144 NJ ZIP applications totaling $32.2 million in vouchers for zero-emission medium-duty vehicles, with more applications still in process.
The EDA anticipates the expansion of the program to a statewide audience will allow 200-400 additional vouchers to be awarded.
Over 90% of the entities approved to date are small businesses, and approximately 57% are minority- and/or woman-owned. The vehicles supported so far through the program are expected to result in the reduction of annual carbon emissions by more than 6,500 short tons within the communities in which they operate.
EDA CEO Tim Sullivan said the program is having a direct impact on the one of the biggest causes to emissions.
“Over 40% of New Jersey’s carbon emissions are produced by vehicles, so helping small businesses make the transition to zero-emission technology is a key step toward accelerating Gov. Phil Murphy’s efforts to improve air quality, and create economic opportunity within the state,” he said.
“Small businesses participating in the program are poised to reap the benefits of electric vehicle ownership by modernizing their fleets with environmentally friendly, state-of-the-art vehicles that not only reduce fuel costs and require less maintenance but mitigate the harmful environmental impacts of transportation emissions in communities across New Jersey.”
Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette said his team is grateful to be involved.
“The NJDEP is pleased to partner with the NJEDA to further reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming and climate change in our state,” he said. “As New Jersey’s transportation sector is the largest source of these emissions, the NJ ZIP expansion constitutes a significant step forward.
“These types of partnerships also demonstrate the power and strength of collaboration among state agencies. NJ ZIP supports small businesses with an eye toward transitioning their current vehicle fleet to zero-emission alternatives, helping to protect the environment, improve public health and advance our environmental justice and clean energy goals.”
In addition to expanding the program’s funding capacity, the NJEDA will also work to identify a New Jersey university partner to provide technical assistance as part of the NJ ZIP program. This assistance will provide critical guidance to small businesses as they are applying for zero-emission vehicle vouchers.