Car manufacturers are charged up for the future with industry-leading, electric models

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

With a growing interest in reducing carbon emissions to combat climate change, electric cars have become an increasingly common sight on the road. As consumers make the shift from gas guzzling to battery-charged vehicles, the public will be searching for plugs as they hit the road.

Luckily, the federal government is supplying $15.4 million in funds to New Jersey for the purpose of financing a network of electric car charging stations. The Garden State will receive $104.4 million through 2026. Most of New Jersey’s interstate highways have designated alternative fuel corridors, and the state will install charging networks on these highways first. Then, the focus will shift to adding charging stations to the remaining national highways, state roads, smaller thoroughfares and at public locations such as schools.

This financial support is part of President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which will supply $5 billion nationwide over five years to invest in a national charging station network. The legislation’s goal is to reach 500,000 electric charging stations throughout the country by 2030.

With both the government and consumers seeking to shift to more sustainable driving practices, car manufacturers are expected to reap the benefits. Alex Salaices, public relations specialist for electric vehicle manufacturer Lucid Motors, said that as charging infrastructure expands throughout the country, an increase in electric vehicle purchases will follow.

Every Lucid Air Dream Edition includes the full range of available Lucid Air features, including the Glass Canopy roof, Lucid’s exclusive DreamDrive driver system and a 21-speaker Surreal Sound assistance system. Photo courtesy of Lucid Motors

Lucid Motors released a luxury sedan, dubbed the Lucid Air, in 2021. It was named the 2022 MotorTrend Car of the Year, which is the first time that the debut product from a new automotive company received the award.

“Lucid offers the longest-range, fastest-charging electric vehicles on the market today,” Salaices said. “Designed in California and built in Arizona, the Lucid Air is a luxury sedan capable of up to 520 miles of EPA-estimated range.”

Electric vehicles are advertised and compared based on their EPA range, which equates to approximately how many miles the car can travel in cities and on highways before the battery is drained — and the Lucid Air currently has the longest range to date. Lucid vehicles are equipped with the company’s proprietary powertrain technology that uses lithium-ion battery cells. These cells have a greater energy capacity and can tolerate repeated, cyclic fast charging. Beyond range, the Lucid Air also has muscle. With all-wheel-drive and a dual motor architecture, drivers can achieve up to 1,080 horsepower.

New Jersey shoppers can peruse all four models of the Lucid Air at its studio within The Mall at Short Hills. All sedan models have an upscale, spacious cabin and a streamlined exterior design. The base trim model, the Lucid Air Pure, starts at $77,400, and the most exclusive, limited Air Dream Edition model starts at $169,000.

New Jersey shoppers can peruse all four models of the Lucid Air at its studio within The Mall at Short Hills. Photo courtesy of Lucid Motors

Another new electric vehicle manufacturer on the market with a location in Short Hills, as well as one in Princeton, is Polestar. A Swedish electric vehicle manufacturer owned by Volvo, the company released an electric hybrid in 2019 called the Polestar 1. Its first fully electric vehicle, the Polestar 2, hit the market in 2020. The Polestar 2’s long-range, single motor model came to the United States this year, which has an EPA range up to 270 miles and is slightly more affordable at $45,900 MSRP than the long-range, dual motor option, which offers up to 408 horsepower.

It’s impossible to think about a luxury electric car without thinking of Tesla. In New Jersey, Tesla dealerships are located in Cherry Hill, Lawrence Township, Springfield and Paramus, where there are two locations. As the brand name has grown in popularity and sales top the market, its vehicles have become more accessible to the public. Tesla has four electric vehicle models for consumers to choose from: Model S, Model X, Model 3 and Model Y. Depending on the model, consumers can choose from trims based on performance, standard range or long range to suit their needs. The Model X stands out from the competition as it has the highest towing capacity of any electric SUV, best-in-class storage, all-wheel drive and rear falcon-wing doors that swing up.

In New Jersey, Tesla dealerships are located in Cherry Hill, Lawrence Township, Springfield and Paramus. Photo courtesy of NJ Advance Media

With Tesla, the software in the cars update automatically over time. These “over-the-air upgrades” for your specific vehicle automatically appear in the Tesla application, and the car updates when parked and connected to Wi-Fi.

The vehicle’s large touch screen also sets it apart from other electric cars on the market today.

Drivers can enter their trip destination on the car’s touchscreen, and the Trip Planner will route you to your destination while noting charging locations along the way.

Not only does Tesla invest in creating superb electric vehicles, the company has financed the world’s largest fast-charging network. The Supercharger network has electric charging locations throughout the country. These Tesla-specific stations can recharge the car in around 30 minutes, and the Tesla application will send an alert when the car reaches 100%. The company will soon allow non-Tesla electric vehicles to charge at these locations in the near future.

Not only does Tesla invest in creating superb electric vehicles, it has financed the world’s largest fast-charging network, which includes New Jersey. Photo courtesy of NJ Advance Media

Another vehicle manufacturer that is partnering to create electric charging stations is Nissan.

“Nissan is constantly working with cities, states and third-party partners to expand our electric vehicle infrastructure,” said Josh Clifton, the senior manager of product communications at Nissan Motor Co.

Nissan has always been a top name in electric vehicle manufacturing with the Nissan Leaf, a battery electric hatchback, first released in 2010. The Nissan Leaf sold as the top-selling, plug-in electric car until December 2019. Standing apart from the luxury market, the Nissan Leaf is one of the most affordable electric vehicles in the United States. In the fall of 2021, Nissan repositioned the Nissan Leaf with a lower starting MSRP that includes more standard features so electric cars can become even more accessible to consumers. The new 2022 Nissan Leaf now comes standard with a technology package, a fast-charging port and driver assistance features.

Standing apart from the luxury market, the Nissan Leaf is one of the most affordable electric vehicles in the United States. Photo courtesy of Nissan

Currently, the Nissan Leaf is the sole electric vehicle in the Nissan lineup, but Nissan has begun taking reservations for the all-new 2023 Nissan Ariya, an electric crossover SUV that goes on sale in fall 2022. This electric crossover comes in four models, Including one that has a dual motor, all-wheel drive and an extended range of 265 miles.

With gas prices skyrocketing, new electric vehicles to choose from and an upcoming expanded charging network, New Jerseyans are primed to invest in a sustainable driving machine and a green future.

Katrina Rossos is a writer and editor with a passion for the environment, ecology and wildlife conservation. Her freelance work has been published in Backpacker Magazine and, US News & World Report, Nature World News and The Dodo, among others.

This article originally appeared in the Summer 2022 issue of Jersey’s Best. Subscribe here for in-depth access to everything that makes the Garden State great.

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