N.J. joins regional electric-vehicle initiative

TRENTON – Gentlemen, start your (electric-vehicle) engines.

The state Department of Environmental Protection announced today that New Jersey has joined a network of states in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic region that will collaborate on a plan to promote electric vehicles and vehicles that use alternative fuels such as natural gas and bio-fuels to help improve air quality.

The goal of the Northeast Electric Vehicle Network is to accelerate the development of infrastructure such as electric-vehicle charging stations.

The network includes New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.

“Diversifying the types of vehicles that people in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic drive to include more electric, hybrid and alternate-fuel vehicles is a very important part of improving our air quality,” DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said in a release.

Last month, the Transportation and Climate Initiative – a coalition of 11 states and Washington, D.C., – received a $994,500 U.S. Department of Energy planning grant to assist in the development of guidelines for the permitting and installation of electric-vehicle charging stations.

The lack of such stations has been one of the impediments to the use of electric vehicles.

Electric vehicle charging stations have been installed in some New Jersey municipalities, including Montclair and Avalon, and at Rutgers University’s Piscataway campus and at the Bergen County Community College, DEP reported. In addition, companies such as Benjamin Moore and Johnson & Johnson have built solar-powered electric vehicle charging stations to power their fleets.

N.J. joins regional electric-vehicle initiative