New Jersey installs plug-in vehicle rebates


New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed a bill to promote electric vehicles. The state calls for two million plug-in cars by 2035 and offers consumers rebates of up to $5,000. The ‘Light Duty Plug-in Electric Vehicle Rebate Program’ will run for ten years.

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For this long period, New Jersey estimates to pay approximately $30 million from the Clean Energy Fund each year to grant the rebates. Additionally, the bill gives the Board of Public Utilities the authority to also establish an incentive program for the purchase and installation of home charging equipment for up to $500 per person.

Governor Murphy hopes that “by establishing aggressive goals and strong incentives for electric vehicles,” the Garden State’s transportation sector will transform as New Jersey operates towards a goal of reaching 100 per cent clean energy by 2050.

To measure progress, the bill also directs “that by 31 December 2020, and every five years after that, the Department of Environmental Protection is required to prepare and submit to the Governor and the Legislature a report” that assesses the plug-in electric vehicle market in New Jersey.

Also on a broader level, the legislation directs the Department of Environmental Protection and Board of Public Utilities to establish goals for the electrification of medium and heavy-duty vehicles. Additionally, public transport provider NJ Transit will move toward zero-emission bus purchases by 2032.

The latter is in line with a larger initiative of seven states in the US. Led by California, the proposal is for Advanced Clean Trucks regulation. This would involve sales and reporting requirements of zero-emission medium and heavy-duty vehicles as reported. More so, New Jersey also vowed to push electric cars regardless of federal policy in an earlier move, again joined by several other states.

Update 7 August 2020: The funding for the EV support programme is being cut by $16 million. The idea was to help motorists buy electric vehicles by offering rebates of up to $5,000. Now, declining state revenues due to the coronavirus pandemic has shut down large parts of the economy. Although the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approved a three-month extension of its clean-energy program, in doing so it was forced to shift funds and ended up reducing the funding for electric vehicle rebates by $16 million.

Update 21 December 2020: Following high demand, New Jersey’s offer of $5,000 toward the purchase of a new light-duty plug-in electric vehicle will go hiatus until the next summer, as it is on pace to nearly exhaust its first-year budget by month’s end. So far, nearly 4,500 applications for the charging incentives have already been approved, totaling $21.6 million. Board of Public Utilities President Joseph Fiordaliso added the program is on pace to approach 6,000 and the $30 million project limit by month’s end.

“New Jerseyans are even more enthusiastic for electric vehicles than we really initially anticipated,” Fiordaliso said, “By any measure, New Jersey’s electric vehicle incentive program has been a resounding success.”

nj.gov, edf.org, njspotlight.com (update 7 August), ddtgr, adadwd (update 21 December)


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