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Electric Cars Future Not As Certain As Some Think

charge station
Charge Station at Sunoco on Rt 88 in Brick Township Owned By Joe Ocello (photo Ilya Hemlin Townsquare Media NJ)

A report from the group Environment New Jersey paints an optimistic image of the electric car’s future in New Jersey, however the owner of Ocean County’s only gas station with a charge unit has a much more tempered and realistic outlook.

The report titled “Charging Forward: The Emergence of Electric Vehicles and Their Role in Reducing Oil Consumption” claims that 13,100 drivers in the state could be purchasing their first plug in vehicles within the next three years. Joseph Ocello is owner of Joe’s Towing and Auto owns several gas stations, including the Sunoco station on Route 88 that hosts the counties only charge station, and he believes the issue is installing the charge stations is still an expense many small and mid size gas stations would have trouble with.

He has about a dozen regular customers who come in with their electric cars to charge up, but he doesn’t think they will be the norm. Instead he believes in the near future we will see a mix of hybrid cars and super efficient “traditional” gas vehicles.

“I don’t think it’s just going to be electric, I think they have a good spot for what they’re good for and the distances they’re good for and things like that but I’m not sure that it’s going to be the future.”

The main problem that Ocello sees is a simultaneous reluctance — between consumers worried about the high prices, car manufacturers worried about a decrease in demand, and gas retailers worried about making a serious commitment by installing the charging stations. That’s why sees hybrids offering some flexibility for all parties involved.

“Those people buying electric cars need charging stations if they’re traveling with them, the other side of the coin with the hybrid you get the best of both worlds you get the electric side and you get the alternative power side, whether it’s diesel, gas, or whatever.”

Noting the state’s initiative to get more charging stations set up is a good step in giving consumer’s confidence.

“Until they start seeing charging stations out there on a more frequent basis, it’s going to hold them back.”

The other issue is that the combustion engine is completely engrained in our society, particularly in the trucking and freight industries.

“You’re not going to see electric come into that.”

While many are hoping to end our society’s dependence on fossil fuel, Ocello says it’s not something he sees realistically.

“I don’t think in my lifetime, or my kid’s lifetime, we’re going to see combustion engines go away.”

Ocello says he will be installing another charging station at gas station he owns in Avalon to service the street legal electric vehicles like golf carts.

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