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Jersey City to Introduce Electric Vehicles in Next Step to Going Green

by Alena Competello
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Just weeks after becoming the first municipality in the nation to introduce digital body temperature and mask scanners at municipal buildings, Jersey City announced another notable first. On Monday, Mayor Steven M. Fulop released a statement introducing the implementation of electric vehicles as part of the city’s municipal fleet. The pilot program is the city’s next effort in its quest to go green.

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The Electric Transformation

Jersey City is home to New Jersey’s largest municipal fleet and, after Mayor Fulop’s announcement on Monday, July 13th, it is now also home to the first municipal fleet on the East Coast with fully electric garbage trucks, and some of the first EV Police response vehicles. The move falls under Mayor Fulop’s Executive Order to require 10% of all new municipal fleet vehicles to be fully electric this year where available, with the ultimate goal of 100% of new municipal fleet vehicles to be fully electric by 2030, the statement reads.

“As an administration, we have sought out innovative and resourceful ways to build a foundation for a more resilient and sustainable future, which is critical now more than ever amid the current crisis,” Mayor Fulop said. “Transitioning to a greener technology is a cost-saving, long-term investment benefiting our environment and our residents’ health. We’re leading the country in electrification, utilizing grants and community feedback to build an infrastructure that will serve as a model for others around the nation.”

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How Jersey City is Footing the Electric Bill

So what is that funding the mayor is referring to? Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione, Press Secretary for Mayor Fulop, told Hoboken Girl via email that the infrastructure improvements are supported by, “a $2 million grant from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection {NJDEP} for the garbage trucks, $76,000 in Sustainable Jersey Grants for the {24 EV} charging stations, and capital dollars from 2018.”

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“While Jersey City has been awarded several NJDEP grants to subsidize much of the electrification costs and vehicle purchases, the significantly reduced energy and maintenance costs for EVs will allow these investments to pay for themselves over the course of a few years,” added Business Administrator Brian Platt. “Reductions in harmful pollution and emissions and also lower fleet operating costs will greatly benefit our city for years to come.”

Building a Greener Jersey City

According to officials, Jersey City is “rapidly” transitioning towards a greener future, noting the following initiatives that have been implemented in the last year alone:

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  • – All new vehicles purchased in 2020 have been fully electric {8 total}
  • – Established the first EV-only parking zones in New Jersey at EV charging stations to foster public adoption
  • – One of the first rideshare services in the country to use EVs with over 10% of the current fleet being electric
  • – Solar panels installed at Department of Public Works to provide electricity to the building and EV charging stations through the 1.23 Megawatt solar array
  • – Jersey City’s first car-sharing program eliminates underused vehicles to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

“Mayor Fulop is turning Jersey City into a national leader when it comes to the environment and dealing with climate change,” remarked Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “In an area like Jersey City, cars and trucks are major sources of pollution. This will help everyone breathe easier while moving forward when it comes to cleaner transportation.

See More: Welcome to Little Island Park — Hudson River’s ‘Floating’ Green Space Set to Open in 2021

A Banner Year for Going Green

Jersey City declared 2020 the Year of Climate Action and created the city’s first-ever Climate Action Plan, a strategic framework for measuring, planning, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and related climatic effects to help Jersey City meet its Climate Goals. Then plan seeks community input and collaboration on the measures to be taken to help reduce the impact of climate change on the city.

And it’s not just Jersey City, it’s the entire state of New Jersey, in fact, that is taking steps towards electrification. On July 14th, New Jersey joined 14 other states and the District of Columbia in announcing a joint memorandum of understanding {MOU} committing to working collaboratively to advance and accelerate the market for electric medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. The goal? To ensure 100% of all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales be zero-emission vehicles by 2050 with an interim target of 30% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2030.

“To reach our clean energy goals and beat back the effects of climate change, we must rapidly electrify our transportation system by supporting the adoption of electric vehicle use in every sector of our economy,” New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said. “Today’s action will support the electrification of medium and heavy-duty vehicles by building on New Jersey’s comprehensive strategy that includes reentry to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, from which auction proceeds will go toward clean energy initiatives, particularly for our environmental justice populations. Taken together with the blueprint outlined in our Energy Master Plan, these efforts demonstrate New Jersey’s unwavering commitment to 100 percent clean energy by 2050, creating a healthier environment for everyone.”

New Jersey, it seems, is officially part of the going green movement and, with its latest infrastructure improvements, Jersey City is working to make its mark as a leader of the pack.

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