New Jersey now has about 25,000 electric cars, but plans are moving forward to dramatically increase that number over the next several years.

Doug O’Malley, the director of Environment New Jersey and president of ChargEVC, an electric vehicle coalition, said the Garden State's network of 350 electric vehicle charging stations must be dramatically increased in order to expand the number of electric vehicles.

He said in addition to increasing the number of electric vehicle chargers, “we definitely want to have a network of fast chargers on the 50 most-traveled roads across the state so if you are running low on juice, you have a place to recharge.”

Newer direct current chargers are much faster than the old ones, charging a vehicle in as little as 15 minutes.

O’Malley said legislation advancing in the state Senate and Assembly, S2252 and A4819, would establish goals and programs to support expansion of electric vehicles in New Jersey.

The measures call for the creation of an Electric Vehicle Working Group, which would develop and update a Statewide Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Plan in order to minimize what's known as "consumer range anxiety."

The proposed legislation also calls for the creation of a New Jersey Light Duty Plug-in Electric Vehicle Rebate Program to encourage Garden State residents to purchase electric vehicles.

He said when electric cars first came on the market they had a range of about 100 miles, but now “the typical new electric vehicle on the road will get you over 200 and there are many that will get you over 300 miles.”

O’Malley pointed out most electric charging takes place overnight at a person’s home, “but just like a gas station, you want the security of having a place to top off that’s nearby.”

He said the goal is to get more than 300,000 electric vehicles on the road in New Jersey by 2025 and “the best way to do that is to make it really easy to find a place to charge whether it be downtown or off the Turnpike or Parkway.”

And in 2019, environmentalists are not the only ones pushing to increase the number of electric cars in the Garden State.

So what’s it like to drive an electric vehicle?

O’Malley said many people may think they don’t have a lot of pickup but “they're incredibly fun to drive, they’re incredibly quick and have amazing acceleration.”

O’Malley said building a network of fast charging stations for electric vehicles will cost “hundreds of millions of dollars” but he stressed electric cars will cost less to operate and save owners money in the long run. They will also help to decrease the cost of electricity long-term, because there will be more of a regular, increased demand for power to operate them.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com