NJ Looks to Accelerate Transition to Electric Trucks by Building Out Charging Infrastructure

The Murphy administration’s goal is to electrify the transportation sector, hoping to speed up the electrification of the most polluting vehicles on the road, the state is seeking to set up a program to build charging infrastructure for medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

In a 24-page proposal, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities outlines the general contours of what it describes as a charging ecosystem for electric heavy-duty trucks, buses and long-haul tractor trailers, or about 500,000 vehicles in the state.

The initiative is the latest component of the Murphy administration’s plan to electrify the transportation sector, the largest single source of emissions contributing to global warming. Diesel belching medium- and heavy-duty trucks account for only 4% of all vehicles on the road, but are responsible for 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions, according to BPU.

Like a complementary program dealing with light-duty passenger cars, the truck initiative aims to have the private sector do much of the buildout of charging infrastructure, a step designed to limit what utility customers end up paying for the transition to cleaner vehicles. The program is designed to broaden access to charging stations for electric trucks, buses and other vehicles.

The Murphy administration is moving to phase out diesel trucks by mandating an increase in the sale of electric trucks between now and 2035, eventually requiring all electric vehicles sales by 2050 under a new rule adopted by the NJDEP.

Transitioning trucks to zero-emission vehicles is challenging because beyond the higher price for electric vehicles, there is also the expense of installing the charging infrastructure. Without the electrification of the transportation sector, the state will never achieve its goals to drastically curb greenhouse gas emissions, officials say.

“This proposal has been long awaited and should result in more investment in charging infrastructure,’’ said Doug O’Malley, the director of Environment New Jersey. “This will help get the dirtiest trucks out of these overburdened communities.’’

One of the most important issues in building out the charging infrastructure is who will build, own, operate and pay for the charging stations and reap the revenue for refueling vehicles. Similar to what it has done with light-duty vehicles, the BPU is seeking to have the private sector do it.

The state’s four electric utilities would be limited, in most cases, to wiring and building the backbone infrastructure at charging depots.  Electric vehicle service equipment infrastructure companies would be responsible for installing, operating and marketing those charging services to customers.

Those provisions are likely to disappoint the utilities, some of whom had submitted plans to build out vehicle charging infrastructure to the BPU previously, but those plans were never acted upon. The straw proposal also calls for a working group, comprised of utility officials and industry executives, to be established to recommend proposed rates for charging vehicles and ways to encourage best times to charge.

The proposal also includes provisions to improve air quality in dozens of communities of color where a concentration of these trucks is causing unequal pollution burdens for residents. The staff proposal aims to hasten the transition to electric vehicles by prioritizing location of charging depots to reduce emissions of vehicles in those overburdened communities.

Besides being a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, these communities also suffer from other pollutants from medium- and heavy-duty trucks, including nitrogen oxides, a contributor to formation of smog, particulate matter and air toxins.


Source: NJ Spotlight News

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