ASSEMBLY, No. 1653




DATED:  JANUARY 27, 2020


      The Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee reports favorably Assembly Bill No. 1653.

      This bill would encourage municipalities to identify appropriate locations for the development of publicly-available infrastructure for fueling or charging zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) when adopting redevelopment plans.  For the purposes of this bill, the term “zero-emission vehicle” specifically includes battery electric-powered vehicles and hydrogen fueling stations.  The bill would also encourage municipalities to build publicly-available ZEV fueling and charging stations by allowing municipalities to fund them through revenue streams that are currently available to fund infrastructure related to redevelopment projects.

      New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan encourages the greater use of ZEVs by improving and expanding the ZEV charging infrastructure needed throughout New Jersey.  A report of the New Jersey Energy Master Plan Alternative Fuels Work Group identified the development, installation, and maintenance of ZEV 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 ZEVs in New Jersey.

      The development of ZEV charging infrastructure is a critical step in creating jobs, fostering economic growth, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing our reliance on foreign fuels, and reducing pollution attributable to the operation of petroleum-based vehicles.  Limited driving distance is a fundamental disadvantage and obstacle to broad consumer adoption of ZEVs.  In order to eliminate this fundamental disadvantage and dramatically increase consumer acceptance and usage of ZEVs, it is essential to develop a network of convenient ZEV charging and fueling stations.

      Municipalities have an opportunity to increase ZEV adoption by increasing the availability of public charging and fueling stations, thereby reducing consumer concerns about range anxiety.  Range anxiety refers to the concern consumers have in running out of charge or fuel and finding themselves stranded.  Although most ZEVs will support the owner’s typical daily drive, consumers worry about the unplanned trips that might cause their vehicles to run out of charge or fuel.  While most ZEVs will be charged or fueled at home or at work, the development of public ZEV charging and fueling stations is necessary to support motorists traveling outside their normal routine, and to reduce range anxiety.  In addition to providing a real solution to range anxiety concerns, the development of public ZEV fueling and charging stations increases public awareness of zero-emission vehicles.

      This bill will further the goal of improving and expanding the State’s ZEV fueling and charging infrastructure by encouraging each municipality, at the time of adopting redevelopment plans under the "Local Redevelopment and Housing Law," to consider planning for publicly available ZEV fueling and charging stations, and when considering the use of various methods available under current law for the financing of public infrastructure components of redevelopment projects, to consider including the development of publicly available ZEV fueling and charging stations in a redevelopment project.

      This bill was pre-filed for introduction in the 2020-2021 session pending technical review.  As reported, the bill includes the changes required by technical review, which has been performed.