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Plugging in Electric Cars Gets a Boost in the Garden State

The trickiest thing about electric cars? Needing to plug them in. Fortunately, the Garden State is hoping to change that and slash smog at the same time.

New Jersey has launched a hefty grant program aimed at encouraging the installation of more electric vehicle charging stations.

Plug n’ Get Paid

The state is calling the new program “It Pays to Plug In.” It’s offering $725,000 in reimbursement grants to employers to offset some of the costs of purchasing and installing the charging stations, while also encouraging employees to buy and drive electric vehicles to work.

According to the state, employees spend one-third of their day with their cars sitting in the parking lot. This makes workplaces ideal spots for electric vehicle owners to charge throughout the workday, and it reduces vehicle emissions, which improves air quality.

“Electric vehicles can play a critical role in helping to improve our air quality,” says Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin. “This new grant program can help improve the affordability of this innovative and proven technology that benefits all New Jersey residents.”

Charge It

According to the state’s Board of Public Utilities, there are currently 398 charging outlets at 181 locations in New Jersey, based on data kept by the federal Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center. Officials say the grant program will encourage greater use of electric cars as well as plug-in hybrids, by expanding the infrastructure network needed to keep alternative-fueled vehicles on the road in New Jersey.

“If you can charge your electric vehicle at home and you can charge it at work, that goes a long way to relieving range anxiety, which is a well-known barrier to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles,” said John Giordano, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protections’s Assistant Commissioner for Air Quality, Energy and Sustainability. He adds that a key to the success of any new technology is public buy-in and to gain that, the public needs to be well-informed.

New Jersey set up a new website, Drive Green New Jersey, which will offer information about the program, the types of electric vehicles available, how to charge them and links to current charging station locations.

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