SOLUTIONS: Princeton trying to become electric vehicle friendly

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By Huck Fairman
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The news on the Earth’s environment from scientists — including from Princeton-based Climate Central — is not good.
The planet’s warming, along with related changes (warming, rising seas, bleaching coral, droughts, floods, and extreme heat, etc.) appear to be happening even more quickly than predicted. President Obama visiting Midway Island in the Pacific said that these changes, as graphed from around the world, are “terrifying!“
What to do? … And yet there are things to do, and encouragingly many Princeton area residents have already undertaken a number of CO2-reducing steps.
New Jersey, which has built a relatively clean energy mix of natural gas, nuclear, coal, and private solar installations, finds, however, that 30 percent of its CO2 emissions come from vehicles. And yet, because of that relatively clean energy, using electric cars, which draw their power mostly from the grid (some owners use their own solar panels to recharge their cars,) is still beneficial in terms of reduced emissions.
In the Princeton area one can see many electric and hybrid cars. These include Priuses, Nissan Leafs, Teslas, Chevy Volts, BMW i3, and several Ford models. And more are coming. Later this year, the Chevy Bolt, will offer a fully charged range of 200 miles, much greater than the Volt’s electric range. Its price, with tax rebates, is around $30,000, and it should be available in late 2016.
But to encourage more EV owners, more facilities are needed to allow drivers to recharge their cars while they work or shop. Sustainable Princeton, the Princeton Environmental Commission, and several businesses are doing just that — making Princeton “EV friendly.” The Princeton Shopping Center is also planning to install a number of charging stations. In addition, businessman Charles Yedlin and Princeton University are both planning installations.
BMW will be offering the opportunity to see and test drive its i3 electric cars on Sept. 24 (which is also electronics recycling day) at the town’s Municipal Building at 400 Witherspoon St.. (Check BMW or the town for times.)
The momentum toward EVs is picking up, at least locally. That is not only a good development but a necessary one, in the effort to reduce emissions. As Winston Churchill is alleged to have said: Americans always do the right thing … after trying everything else. Here we might surprise him. 
Huck Fairman is a Princeton author who writes SOLUTIONS on environmental issues. 