Asw. Pinkin and Asm. Karabinchak Celebrate “National Drive Electric Week” in Edison with Electric Car Show of the Future
Supporters rally for electric vehicle infrastructure and accessibility in New Jersey
Edison, NJ — Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin and Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak joined with Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center and Jersey Renews to take electric car — and the promise of a zero carbon transportation future for New Jersey — for a test drive during National Drive Electric Week. Edison residents tried out cars like the Audi eTron, Chevy Volt, and Tesla Model 3 at Lake Papaianni Park, after local leaders and environmental advocates called for policies that ease the transition to cleaner, greener, electrified vehicle travel in New Jersey.
“Electric vehicles are here now, and New Jersey needs to do more to make it easier to plug in,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center. “Electrifying our transportation sector is one of the most critical things we can do to fight air pollution and climate change. By taking steps to improve our EV infrastructure and accelerate the transition to electric transportation, New Jersey can create a roadmap for other states to follow. But we need to provide more resources and funding to communities like Edison to install more EV charging stations around the state.”
Climate change is a major threat to New Jersey, with more than 300,00 people living in coastal areas in danger from rising sea levels, flooding, and more frequent and devastating storms. The state is warming at twice the rate of the United States. In response to the challenge of climate change, Governor Phil Murphy’s proposed Energy Master Plan (EMP) calls for increased electric vehicle infrastructure as well as a transition to clean energy to reduce carbon emissions. The EMP’s public comment period closed on Monday, and the plan will be under review by the Board of Public Utilities until the end of this year.
“Electrifying our transportation sector is both one of the most powerful steps we can take to fight global warming and the best way to reduce ozone air pollution across Central Jersey” said Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin, Chair of the Assembly Environment Committee. “Establishing a 21st century electric vehicle charging infrastructure across New Jersey would be a vital step toward the goal of eliminating greenhouse gases from our transportation system.”
In the most densely populated state in the country, with 9 million people, New Jersey has more than 3 million registered vehicles, and New Jerseyans suffer from some of the worst regional air pollution. According to the American Lung Association’s 2019 State of the Air report, Middlesex County failed to meet ozone protection levels under current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) health standards. Middlesex County suffered 26 orange alert days and has more than 71,212 pediatric and adult asthmatics.
“In order to secure a future of clean air and sustainable infrastructure, our state must face the issue head on by making zero-emission electric vehicles affordable and available to all,” Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak said. “I’m a proud sponsor of several bills that would establish statewide programs to lay the groundwork and infrastructure for electric vehicles in New Jersey. My hope is that through careful planning and incentive structures, Edison and central New Jersey will become the hub of EV dealerships and charging stations. The future is here now and EVs will be a boom across New Jersey!”
Middlesex County can benefit from electrifying the cars, trucks, and buses that travel throughout the region, but needs more than the charging stations already installed in the county to support that transition. Governor Murphy recently announced the NJ Partnership to Plug-In to help overcome the roadblocks facing electric vehicles, which include the lack of charging stations and the affordability gap consumers face when it comes to buying cleaner cars.
“Edison is especially proud to host this event during National Drive Electric Week. As Mayor, as a consumer, and as someone who breathes New Jersey’s air, I recognize that electric cars are among the most efficient solutions to reduce exhaust emissions and air pollution, and to decrease greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. Doing this will provide a cleaner, safer environment for everyone,” Edison’s Mayor Thomas Lankey said.
“New Jersey new car and truck dealers are all-in on electric vehicles,” said Jim Appleton, President of the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers. “With an extensive network of more than 500 locations across the state to display, demonstrate and service electric vehicles, New Jersey’s neighborhood new car dealers offer the best, most promising way to market and promote EVs to the broadest cross-section of potential new car buyers. Consumers are just now becoming aware that New Jersey new car dealers currently offer more than 60 models of electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid vehicles from 25 different manufacturers. And the really exciting news is that dozens more are expected in the next few years.”
This February, NJDEP announced the first round of VW settlement money for EV charging stations in 55 municipalities and counties including 17 Level 2 dual port chargers at Rutgers New Brunswick, 1 in East Brunswick, and 10 in Woodbridge.
“Increasing the number of electric vehicles on the road is a crucial step to meeting New Jersey’s emissions reduction goals,” said Debra Coyle McFadden, executive director of New Jersey Work Environment Council. “Transitioning our transportation infrastructure to electric is an opportunity to create good paying jobs, improve public health by reducing air pollution along well-traveled routes and mitigate our impact on the changing climate.”
Our cars and trucks emit tailpipe pollution, including ozone, the main ingredient in smog that can trigger asthma attacks. Not surprisingly, the transportation sector is the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions in the state. But with statewide action, New Jersey could become a national leader and model for addressing climate change by encouraging widespread adoption of electric vehicles.
“We can’t overstate the importance of changing hearts and minds by simply driving an electric vehicle. You will experience that it is superior in every way,” said Pam Frank, Vice President of Gabel Associates and CEO of ChargEVC. “These cars are clean and powerful, making them the superhero of the auto world.”
“For New Jersey to combat climate change and meet our goals to reduce emissions, we have to improve how we get around by expanding options such as public transit. And for trips that have to be made by car, electric is the way to go,” said Amy Folkerts, Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center campaign organizer.
Environment New Jersey is a statewide policy and action group. Our staff and members work to protect the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment.
For more information, please visit www.environmentnewjersey.org.