Rowan University To Study Use Of EVs In Underserved Communities

Photo credit: Rowan University

GLASSBORO, N.J. — The New Jersey State Board of Public Utilities has awarded Rowan University a two-year, $100,000 grant to study how to best expand electric vehicle infrastructure to underserved communities in New Jersey recently.

According to the GreenLining Institute, “low-income communities and communities of color disproportionately feel the impacts of vehicle pollution and can benefit the most from the clean air and cost-saving benefits of passenger EVs.”

The grant, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s State Energy Program, will allow Rowan to conduct a market analysis on installing plug-in EV infrastructure and usage programs in low-income populations and multi-family residences.

“New Jersey’s energy future must be as fair as it is clean,” BPU President Joseph Fiordaliso said in a statement. “Initiatives like this … will help us ensure that all communities in New Jersey have access to transformative technologies like EVs.”

This study will help achieve Gov. Phil Murphy’s goal of putting 330,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2025. Back in June of this year, Governor Murphy announced the New Jersey Partnership to Plug-In, a statewide partnership to build the necessary infrastructure to support electric vehicle ownership to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The partnership, co-led by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, will create a strategic and streamlined framework to support New Jersey’s electric vehicle ecosystem, with the goal of registering 330,000 Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) by 2025, according to a press release from the state.

Bills in the state Legislature also seek to build out charging infrastructure and establish an incentive program to encourage the use of EVs around the state.

“The New Jersey Partnership to Plug-In ensures that we are working collaboratively across state agencies and with our private sector partners, to not only meet, but exceed our goal,” Governor Murphy said. “This new initiative is part of our broader effort to make renewable energy solutions work for everyone in New Jersey.”

Creating an infrastructure to support EVs in underserved communities appears vital to the success of EVs in the reduction of emissions.

To meet emissions reduction goals, according to the GreenLining Institute, EV use must grow exponentially. The National Equity Atlas on racial/ethnic composition said that people of color will be the majority in the U.S. by 2044.  “This growth in population has also brought an increase in buying power, making consumers of color a critical segment for accelerating EV adoption. People of color need to buy EVs at a faster rate than whites for the U.S to reach its climate goals,” GreenLining’s “Electrical Vehicle Equity Toolkit” states.