By Desiree Taylor
A prototype for a new BMW electric car is being put to the test in New Jersey. Chester resident Tom Moloughney is the first person in the U.S. to lease BMW’s Active-E electric car. Moloughney says he was selected because he took part in a similar pilot program with BMW’s electric Mini Cooper. He logged more than 72,000 miles with that car during a 2-year period. And he plans to do the same amount of driving, or more, with the Active-E.
Like most electric cars, Moloughney says the Active-E is quiet and eco-friendly. And since it requires no gasoline, he saves money on commuting costs. But he admits there are challenges. There are few public charging stations to recharge batteries that power electric cars.
The federal government has awarded a nearly one million dollar grant to a coalition of Northeastern states, including New Jersey, to help create charging stations from Maine to Maryland.
With the help of a $25,000 grant from the Sustainable Jersey Project and Walmart, Montclair is the first municipality in the state to install public charging stations. According to Gray Russell from the Office of Environmental Affairs in Montclair, the township has a total of 4 charging stations — 2 in the downtown Bloomfield Avenue business district and 2 in the Upper Montclair/Bellevue Avenue area.
The high cost of electric cars is a deterrent for some people. But the government offers credits and other incentives. Critics also point out that electricity isn’t necessarily clean energy if you have to burn coal to produce it. But because it can come from a variety of sources, advocates say electricity it’s relatively clean.
President Obama has pledged to put 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. A handful of auto companies have plans to launch new electric cars soon which could help the president meet this goal.