The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced the expansion of the New Jersey Zero Emission Incentive Program (NJ ZIP) to support businesses and institutions statewide that are purchasing new, zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles operating in New Jersey. The NJEDA board approved the $45 million expansion, through its Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) allocation, doubling the amount of funding dedicated to the program.
The NJEDA board also approved two major eligibility changes from the earlier phase – expanding eligibility to include heavy-duty vehicle classes, and expanding statewide, beyond the four pilot communities in the first phase.
As of last month, the NJEDA had approved 144 NJ ZIP applications totaling $32.2 million in vouchers for zero-emission medium-duty vehicles, with more applications still in process. The NJEDA anticipates the expansion of the program will allow 200-400 additional vouchers to be awarded. Over 90 percent of the entities approved to date are small businesses, and approximately 57 percent are minority- and/or woman-owned. The vehicles supported so far through the program are expected to result in the reduction of annual carbon emissions by more than 6,500 short tons within the communities in which they operate.
According to NJEDA CEO Tim Sullivan, “Small businesses participating in the program are poised to reap the benefits of electric vehicle ownership by modernizing their fleets with environmentally friendly, state-of-the-art vehicles that not only reduce fuel costs and require less maintenance, but mitigate the harmful environmental impacts of transportation emissions in communities across New Jersey.”
ENAT Transportation & Logistics, one of the first NJ ZIP awardees to receive its vehicles, is on its way to transitioning its entire commercial fleet to electric vehicles within the next five years and is currently working with Bergen Community College to serve as a location to house their zero-emission vehicles as part of the Bergen Community College Business Accelerator.
“NJ ZIP is a fantastic resource for small businesses like mine to afford transitioning to an electric fleet as we strive to reduce our carbon footprint and the additional bonus it provides gives woman-owned minority businesses, like mine, the opportunity for progress,” said ENAT’s Vanessa Abad. “The additional $40,000 in bonuses we received for being a minority and women-owned small business has allowed us to compete with other transportation companies in an industry that has traditionally been operated by men.”
GreenPower Motor Company is an authorized vendor under NJ ZIP from which ENAT Transportation & Logistics procured their vehicles. According to Greenpower Regional Sales Manager Larry Sharp, “NJ ZIP offers a clear and accessible path for businesses across New Jersey, especially those in underserved communities, to buy and drive electric vehicles. GreenPower Motor will continue to deliver some of the first commercial electric vans and trucks to New Jersey businesses that are taking a bold step in addressing climate change by reducing their carbon footprint.”
“The NJDEP is pleased to partner with the NJEDA to further reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming and climate change in our state,” said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Commissioner Shawn LaTourette. “As New Jersey’s transportation sector is the largest source of these emissions, the NJ ZIP expansion constitutes a significant step forward.”
In addition to expanding the program’s funding capacity, the NJEDA will also work to identify a New Jersey university partner to provide technical assistance as part of the NJ ZIP program. This assistance will provide critical guidance to small businesses as they are applying for zero-emission vehicle vouchers.
The NJEDA anticipates opening applications, including those for businesses in newly-eligible parts of the state, in the coming months. Vouchers will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. More information on NJ ZIP, including all eligibility requirements for vendors and purchasers, is available at https://www.njeda.com/njzip.
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