Electric Spokes Co., based in Verona, plans to open a Voltaire Cycles franchise in Denville. Owen Proctor/NorthJersey.com
Latest is convenient to Bloomfield Avenue commuters
More communities are investing in charging stations as the demand for electric cars increases, according to consultant Tom Moloughney.
When he started driving an electric car in 2009, there were less than 50 in New Jersey, the Chester resident said. As of Dec. 31, 2016, the state boasted cumulative sales of about 10,079 plug-in electric vehicles, he noted.
Moloughney was on hand when the Essex County government recently opened its third charging station.
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The free-pumping, dual-head station is in the Essex County Public Works Building’s parking lot at 900 Bloomfield Ave. in Verona. The stalls are near the street and in a well-lit area, according to officials.
In 2016, Essex County unveiled its first electric car charging station on the ground level in its Turtle Back Zoo Parking Garage at the South Mountain Recreation Complex in West Orange.
It also opened a station on the first level of the parking garage outside of the Essex County Veterans Courthouse in Newark.
There are no attendants at the charging stations. The county relies on motorists’ courtesy to not monopolize the spaces.
Essex County has partnered with ChargePoint, which supplies systems to power electric cars. Owners of electric motor vehicles would need a ChargePoint account to operate the electric “pumps.”
If they need an account, then drivers can sign up for one at the pump.
Essex County initiative
The charging stations are part of County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo’s initiative to promote environmentally friendly transportation alternatives and fulfill a growing need as electric vehicles become more popular, according to his office.
“It is important for governments to keep pace with the changing needs of their residents,” DiVincenzo said in a release. “More and more people are looking at different transportation options that are more efficient and have less impact on the environment, and providing public charging stations throughout the county makes electric cars more feasible.
“Bloomfield Avenue is a good location because it’s a busy corridor that is easily accessible. We hope the visibility of these charging facilities help promote alternative automobiles,” he stated.
“This is the second electric charging station in my district, and I am happy to hear that there are plans for more in the future,” stated Freeholder Leonard Luciano.
“This is a great project. We are trying to be progressive and green in Verona so we love to see this,” Verona Director of Communications Steven Neale stated.
“I was an advocate for a while, driving an electric car for the past nine years,” Moloughney said. He’s turned consultant, speaking to NorthJersey.com before boarding a plane for the Los Angeles Auto Show.
He opened two of the first charging stations in New Jersey at Nauna’s Bella Casa Ristorante, his Montclair restaurant on Valley Road that has hosted several electric car meet-ups.
People buy into electric cars for different reasons. Moloughney’s was the idea of energy independence, he said.
Although the purchase price is more expensive, electric cars operate at a third of the cost of their counterparts in fuel and maintenance, Moloughney maintained.
Electric owners spend $4 per 100 miles, while other vehicle owners pay $12 per 100 miles, even at today’s lower gas prices, Moloughney quoted from statistics. Powered by his home’s solar panels, he gets an even better deal using renewable resources, he said.
Also, electric car maintenance is simple and significantly less expensive than the gas car option, he maintained.
Most New Jersey electric car owners are now within 10 to 15 miles of a charger in New Jersey, said the consultant, who advises municipalities on the charging infrastructure and environment.
Municipalities such as Newark, Montclair, West Orange, Caldwell, Livingston, East Orange, Summit, Chatham, Montville and Parsippany have charging stations, Moloughney pointed out.
Ideal locations include municipal complexes and large employers. They also work well for town centers, where car occupants can shop while they charge, he noted.
Charging stations, such as the one in Verona, cost between $3,000 and $6,000 apiece, according to Moloughney. They can get drivers 25 to 30 miles per hour of charging, he said.
The real game-changer, however, will be what the industry calls “DC fast chargers,” installed along major transportation corridors, like interstates, Moloughney said. With these chargers, distant travelers can obtain faster and longer-lasting charges, he noted.
These should be popping up sooner rather than later, particularly with New Jersey’s Volkswagen “Dieselgate” settlement, which will allocate up to $72 million toward clean-air initiatives, he added.