Kennedy, Johnson, Eustace & Zwicker Bill to Encourage Municipalities to Plan for, Build Electric Car Charging Stations Clears Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen James Kennedy, Gordon Johnson, Tim Eustace and Andrew Zwicker to encourage municipalities to plan for the development of electric vehicle charging infrastructure at appropriate locations was released Monday by an Assembly panel.

A report by the New Jersey Energy Master Plan Alternative Fuels Work Group identified the development, installation, and maintenance of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, both at home and at strategically selected public places, as one of the most significant opportunities for, and barriers to, advancing the deployment and use of EVs in New Jersey. 

"Including charging systems in municipal land planning not only benefits the environment and environmentally conscious consumers, but the economy as well," said Kennedy (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). "Planning for and developing this infrastructure can help create jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce our reliance on foreign fuels."

The bill (A-1371) would help improve and expand the state's EV charging infrastructure by encouraging each municipality, at the time of the reexamination of its master plan, pursuant to the "Municipal Land Use Law," to identify existing sites of public EV charging infrastructure, and propose locations for future development of public EV charging infrastructure. 

The bill would also amend the "Local Redevelopment and Housing Law" to provide that the development of public electric vehicle charging infrastructure in appropriate locations be considered for inclusion in local redevelopment plans.

"The lack of charging infrastructure can discourage people who are interested in electric vehicles, but are concerned about their recharging options," said Johnson (D-Bergen). "No one wants to get stuck on the side of the road. Ensuring there is sufficient charging stations can help alleviate these consumer fears and encourage more people to invest in environmentally-friendlier vehicles."

"Although most EV charging occurs at home, drivers still rely on publicly available charging," said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic), who owns an electric vehicle. "Planning ahead can help ensure that EV owners or consumers interested in electric vehicles will have the supporting infrastructure to meet their needs."

"Limited driving distance between battery charges is a fundamental disadvantage and obstacle to broad consumer adoption of vehicles powered by electricity," said Zwicker (D-Somerset/Mercer/ Middlesex/ Hunterdon). "If we want to encourage more people to buy these vehicles, it is essential that a network of convenient electric vehicle charging opportunities be developed." 

The bill was approved by the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee.