State Looks To Spark Debate On Electric Vehicles, Infrastructure

The state is trying to figure out how to adapt to growth in the market for electric vehicles, a policy crucial to its efforts to meet mandates to reduce emissions contributing to global warming.

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities is convening this week a stakeholders group to begin hashing out basic questions dealing with how the state can build the infrastructure needed to promote the vehicles and how quickly it can be done.

This past summer has witnessed a surge in policies aimed at transforming the transportation sector from an oil-based system to one based on electric vehicles. For instance, both Britain and France announced targets for eliminating gas and diesel vehicles and switching to plug-in electric vehicles by 2040.

In New Jersey, there are more than 10,000 electric vehicles registered, according to ChargEVC, a coalition supporting the growth of electric vehicles. The number of charging stations is estimated to be in the hundreds.

In convening the group on Friday in Trenton, the state is looking at how the adoption of electric vehicles may require changes in regulations, particularly as they affect New Jersey’s four electric utilities. A key question is how big a role those utilities will play in the development of a charging-station infrastructure and what part will be driven by the private sector.

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