There are three hurdles that are slowing the widespread adoption of electric vehicles, according to Mark L. Reuss, president of General Motors: range, price and infrastructure.
The good news is that two of these obstacles are shrinking. Most new EVs can travel more than 200 miles on a full charge and that figure is expected to double during the next decade. Meanwhile, the cost of batteries, which accounts for about 50% of the cost of an EV, continues to decrease rapidly, making it more affordable to drive electric.
There has been less progress toward solving the third problem – the availability of charging infrastructure. New Jersey has the lowest EV charger density by population among states following the California Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) model. Utilities like PSE&G can play an active role in reducing “charge anxiety” by ensuring that EV drivers are able to charge up when they need to.
Utilities built the electric grid that will provide the backbone of EV charging infrastructure going forward. We are responsible for maintaining the rock-solid reliability that customers expect and depend on, even as we add new demands to the grid to support the developing EV charging infrastructure.
As EV infrastructure expands, utilities are uniquely positioned to ensure that charging can be accomplished while minimizing increased grid costs. For example, PSE&G could encourage cost-effective charging by offering incentives for drivers who charge during lower-cost, lower-demand hours.
Cars, trucks, buses and other motor vehicles are the largest source of the air pollution that aggravates health conditions, such as asthma, and greenhouse gases that are driving climate change. In fact, transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gases in New Jersey, responsible for more than 50 % of the emissions. Widespread adoption of EVs would help improve air quality and combat climate change.
At PSE&G and PSEG Long Island, we have already taken the first steps. In New Jersey, PSE&G has implemented a program that installed 145 chargers at 20 customer sites, initiated a popular workplace charging effort and worked with EVGo to install chargers along the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway. On Long Island, there are incentive programs that are completed, underway or proposed to encourage off-peak charging and the installation of 100 workplace chargers, DC fast charging stations and over 10,000 smart chargers for residential customers. Both PSE&G and PSEG LI also collaborated with BMW and Nissan to promote the sale of EVs.
And we want to do even more. As part of its Clean Energy Future proposal, PSE&G plans to invest $261 million in New Jersey to help deploy 40,000 EV chargers. These chargers would benefit customers by encouraging the installation of state-of-the-art chargers in the home – whether you live in a single- or multi-family residence – as well as at work, at school, in our communities or while you’re on the road. The shift to electric vehicles is essential to improving New Jersey’s air quality and reducing the impacts of climate change. Accelerating that shift would help protect New Jersey’s environment, allowing utilities to develop the necessary charging infrastructure would help the EV transition gather speed.