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Haddonfield offered a glimpse of quieter, more efficient future


Haddonfield commissioner, Environment New Jersey team up to present electric cars to public

Four electric cars on display in the parking lot behind Borough Hall on Oct. 8. From left to right, Nissan Leaf SV, Tesla 3, Tesla X and BMW i3.

Who holds back the electric car?

The question was memorably asked in the Simpsons’ January 1995 episode “Homer the Great,” as part of a sing-along at a dinner hosted by a secret society the cartoon family’s patriarch was attempting to join. Almost a quarter of a century later, we might finally be able to say nobody’s holding it back, because they’re out on the streets of Haddonfield and waiting to be driven.

On Monday, Oct. 8, representatives from Tesla Motors, Environment New Jersey, as well as Borough Commissioner Jeffrey Kasko, teamed up to present several electric cars for observation and test driving in the parking lot behind Borough Hall during a “Ride and Drive” event.

The four vehicles on display were Tesla’s Model 3 and Model X, the Nissan Leaf SV and BMW i3.

“I think it’s great to be able to check out, up close, vehicles not powered by gasoline,” said Kasko. “They are only going to become more common in the near future.”

Raquel Serruya, clean cars associate for Environment New Jersey, reached out to Kasko via email for the possibility of hosting the event, and was pleased to find he was wholly supportive and excited about the opportunity to present the cars to the public.

“It’s important to protect our health, and especially those of vulnerable populations such as children and the elderly. Regular cars release pollution that’s harmful to the lungs and causes cardiovascular issues. (Electric cars) don’t release all these harmful pollutants and they protect New Jersey’s air,” said Serruya.

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Aside from the health and noise benefits inherent in the operation of electric vehicles as opposed to those dependent upon fossil fuels, there has to be a “selling” component that catches the consumer’s eye — or the eyes of those who can influence a consumer. Pricing is still an issue for a citizenry often saving as much as they can, as a Tesla Model X starts at the hefty amount of nearly $81,000.

That hook arrived via the Tesla 3, whose rear doors opened like a pair of bird’s wings, and which later put on a presentation where its lights blinked and rear doors flapped in time with music. It was a definite hit among the younger crowd.

Kasko dove right in with that same Tesla 3, taking it for a longer test drive and route than others in attendance.

Haddonfield commissioner Jeffrey Kasko about to test drive the Tesla 3 at an electric car rollout event on Oct. 8.

“I drove the electric Tesla, and it’s a bigger model. It’s almost like an SUV-type of vehicle. I only drove it around Haddonfield, so I didn’t go over 25 miles per hour,” Kasko said with a sly grin. “But I could feel it a little bit, how it accelerated, how it handled. It handles just as well as my car or any other gasoline car. I was surprised. I didn’t know what to expect because I’d never driven an electric car before.”

Following the test drive, Kasko hinted the borough might be in line to purchase a two-seat electric vehicle for its police department as soon as next year.

Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey, wants residents in the borough and beyond to go all-in for a total overhaul of the type of car around the rubber that hits the road.

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“We’re looking to build a revolution in transportation. Not only in Haddonfield and in South Jersey but across the state and the country. Electric cars are here, and they’re on the roads. A lot of people still think of them as toys. They’re not. They’re incredibly fun to drive, and they go a lot further than people think. We want more charging stations in communities like Haddonfield. We want to make it easier to buy electric vehicles.”

For more information on the benefits of electric vehicles, contact Serruya at raquel@environmentnewjersey.org or call (646) 401–1924.



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