SOLUTIONS: World of EVs is rapidly developing and improving


By Huck Fairman
Princeton inaugurated its first Electrical Vehicle (EV) charging station June 14 in the Spring Street Garage, a facility open to all once they sign up (online) with the operating company, Chargepoint Inc.
Mayor Liz Lempert expressed satisfaction that the town had not only found the sponsors to complete the project but that it was joining other towns and states in addressing global warming, in this case by installing infrastructure to make EVs more viable for local residents and other drivers.
This project, however modest a first step, did not happen overnight. Sustainable Princeton’s Program Director Christine Symington spent much time and effort finding sponsors ( which include a grant from NJ’s DEP, support from Chargepoint Inc., BMW, and Coolvines,) a location, and facility operator, along with shepherding the proposal through the town government and working with the town’s Department of Infrastructure and Operations.
If the charging station proves popular, the town will look at other stations and sites. (A second, private site exists at the Princeton Shopping Center adjacent to Nomad Pizza. There too, users must open an account or register credit cards with the center’s operator. More information is available through the shopping center’s local office.)
Within the Spring Street entrance to the garage and slightly left, two spaces are now reserved for those wishing to charge their EVs. The charging hardware is the common, Level 1 connectors and voltage. Chargers will be limited to four hours to enable other users access, and, as with other garage patrons, chargers will pay a parking fee. The charging fee will be billed to the EV owner’s Chargepoint account. Tesla owners need their own connector and charging system.
The underlying purpose of this project is to take local action to encourage EV usage. These new stations will allow shoppers and diners to charge their EVs while in downtown Princeton. Vehicle emissions in New Jersey contribute a significant proportion of our local CO2 levels, variously estimated as being between 30 percent and 50 percent. Greater EV usage would reduce that level, and the side effects associated with those emissions.
A representative from Nassau Street’s Climate Central attending the following reception noted that the number of manufacturers offering EVs is increasing rapidly and the prices for these cars are falling, while their ranges are increasing and batteries improving. Also noted was that because New Jersey has a relatively clean mix of electric power (including natural gas, nuclear, and wind, as well as coal) it is clearly environmentally beneficial for residents to drive EVs. In fact, in our state, it is 70 percent to 80 percent cleaner to drive EVs than it is to drive gas-powered cars.
In addition, because EVs do not require the not-insignificant gasoline expenditures nor the potentially expensive regular servicing, purchasing or leasing them is competitive in cost with gas-powered cars, and cleaner. This EV driver recharges his car in his garage, from a regular outlet, although the manufacturers recommend a designated line. Other EV owners have taken it a step further by installing solar panels to recharge their EVs.
From the many available sources of information, it is clear that that the world of EVs is rapidly developing and improving.
Huck Fairman is a Princeton author who writes SOLUTIONS about environmental issues.