More than four million passenger cars in New Jersey busily shuttle commuters to work, kids to practice and groceries to kitchens. All those trips on crowded roads are one reason why transportation is the largest source of air pollution in New Jersey – ahead of power plants and industry. For some, that has sparked increased interest in driving electric vehicles (EVs), which emit no exhaust or pollution.
EVs make a lot of sense. They are not just good for the environment – they are also good for the pocketbook. With federal and state incentives, the economics are more than competitive with similar combustion-engine cars, especially when lower maintenance and operational costs, as well as lower fuel costs, are factored in.
But lack of convenient charging stations remains an impediment that keeps potential EV drivers from going all electric. There is no charging station equivalent to the more than 3,000 New Jersey filling stations that serve gas-powered cars. Plug-in electric vehicles have different all-electric ranges, from 13 miles for a Plug in Prius to 80 miles more for a Leaf. These cars are ideal for commuting to and from work, and this is where electric car drivers have consistently said they want to be able to charge: at home and at work.
PSE&G is doing its part to meet this need though an EV charging station pilot program. We are partnering with hospitals and businesses, a university, a condominium developer and a government agency to install a total of 50 plug-in stations.
In addition to PSE&G picking up the cost of the charging equipment, our partners get the added benefits of aiding the state’s environment, helping to spur the widespread acceptance of EVs, gaining a reputation as an environmentally conscious organization and helping to attract and retain employees and tenants who might also be EV car owners. In my mind, it’s a win for everyone involved.
In order to be considered for the pilot, the site must be in PSE&G’s service area, with a demonstrated, immediate, on-site demand from five electric car drivers. PSE&G provides the smart-charging equipment, and our partners pay to install them.
While PSE&G helps to increase the number of charging plugs available in the state, the company is also capturing a range of data from these charging stations, like times of peak use, peak and total electric demand, number of plugs used and more. In turn, we use this data to gain a better understanding of how people and organizations use these charging stations in real life.
Throughout history, revolutionary change in the United States has been a virtuous cycle of adoption and then innovation. As a new and improved technology is born, and as more and more people adopt it, the incentive to improve it becomes greater and greater until the technology realizes its full potential. If we truly want EVs to catch on in New Jersey and realize their true potential in our state, it’s important that we support them now with infrastructure investments that will encourage people to further adopt and use them.
If your organization is interested in participating in the pilot program, I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
EV Charging Program Manager