NJ CAR has been vocal for years about the need for an expanded electric vehicle (EV) charging network to help consumers overcome “range anxiety.” An expanded network is necessary to make consumers comfortable in their decision to purchase a battery-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle. The State is finally putting money into expanding New Jersey’s EV charging network and even looking to streamline the approval process for installing EV chargers.
This is great news, but NJ CAR wants to make sure investment and incentives are targeted at expanding charging options available to all EV owners, regardless of the nameplate on their vehicle.
Just a few weeks ago, NJ CAR sent a letter to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities regarding the board’s proposal for an aggressive EV charging infrastructure build-out to help New Jersey meet its ambitious goal of selling more than 330,000 EVS by 2025 and at least two million EVS by 2035.
We emphasized that New Jersey’s franchised new car and truck dealers offer more than 40 models with a plug right now and will be offering dozens more in virtually every shape and size and at virtually every price point in the next few years.
The BPU’s proposal offers a sensible approach to encourage the development of EV infrastructure, allowing public utilities to recover the cost of making DC Fast Charging sites ready, but leaving the installation and operation of DC Fast Chargers to Electric Vehicle Service Providers (EVSPs) and non-public utility entities.
But there is a glaring omission. The proposal does nothing to address a serious problem that has been ignored for too long: not all DC Fast chargers are available to all EV drivers. Tesla has built, and continues operating, a segregated charging network available only to Tesla drivers. Every other EVSP deploys chargers that can be utilized by all EVs, including Tesla vehicles.
Tesla’s plan has always been to build a vertically integrated monopoly that controls everything from the design and manufacture of EVs to distribution, sales, service and even charging. NJ CAR has strongly voiced our opposition to the BPU permitting any ratepayer-funded investment to support a segregated Tesla charging network. Public utility support to make ready Tesla DC Fast chargers simply should not be part of the equation so long as Tesla chooses to maintain a segregated charging network.
Less than half of the 40,000 vehicles with a plug registered in New Jersey are Teslas, and the sales of competing EV models are growing at three-to-four times the rate of Tesla sales. Any proposal adopted by the BPU must include a mechanism to ensure Charger Ready investment only supports projects that serve all EV drivers. No State or ratepayer-funded support should be given to charger-ready investments to build out a segregated charging network.