Steve Ward, Administrator of Denville Township and George Koutsouradis of Bryan Electric recently discussed the nuances of bringing more electric charging stations to New Jersey municipalities during the recent NJMMA Fall Conference.
Environmentally sensitive capital projects are a benefit to all. With available grant money, municipalities have the ability to decrease their carbon footprint and reduce fuel dependency by installing electric vehicle charging stations and purchasing electric vehicles for their municipal fleet.
However, a recent study by Forbes ranked New Jersey the least accessible state to charge an electric vehicle (EV), with a ratio of 46.16 electric cars to one charging station. As EV production capacities surge, and technological advancements follow, the need for charging stations is at an all time high.
Ward was happy to share his town’s positive experiences with electric charging stations. Denville was able to install an EV charging station through the help of a Green Sustainability Grant and an idea from an Eagle Scout in the community. Once installed, Denville's was the second municipally owned and operated EV charging station in the state.
Denvilles’s sustainable effort also shows it’s plugged into Governor Phil Murphy's climate-control goals that call for getting 330,000 electric vehicles on New Jersey roads by 2025, part of an ambitious statewide plan to switch from gas-powered to more electric-powered vehicles by 2050. In March, the state Board of Public Utilities announced a plan to divide up $1 million in grants among two dozen communities for more electric vehicle charging stations. This proves that the money is there for municipalities that want to move forward with these initiatives.
A few best practices are:
- Understand financial incentives available to install charging stations.
- Make sure signage, lighting and security/safety is optimal in the intended location.
- Streamline the approval process through organization of all required documentation and permits.
- Ensure charging installations strategically align with the characteristics of the drivers visiting the station.
New Jersey municipalities can pave the way for cleaner transportation, and providing EV charging stations is a great way to become a strong clean energy advocate.