The North Florida Transportation Planning Organization is rolling out Phase 2 of its plan to increase the number of charging stations for drivers of electric vehicles across the First Coast.
Recently two new charging stalls opened at the Nassau County Public Library at 25 N. Fourth St. in Fernandina Beach, and this coming Wednesday, Dec. 12, a 10:30 a.m., a ribbon cutting is scheduled at 60 S.E. Lakeview Drive in Keystone Heights to open two more charging stalls.
About $450,000 in federal funds will be used to build about 30 charging locations in Clay, Nassau and St. Johns counties, according to North Florida TPO spokeswoman Marci Larson.
“We're just kind of beginning right now, so it'll take a while. We hope to have them all identified and as much in place by the end of our fiscal year, which is June 30,” said Larson.
The first phase was completed about three years ago, adding 24 publicly financed charging stations in Jacksonville and one in Orange Park. That phase cost about $325,000, according to Larson, who added, “We've been able to identify some federal funding that was available to help with these stations.”
All the charging stations built to date have been Level 2 stations. Level 2 refers to the charging speed. Level 2 stations can add about 25 miles of range – depending on the car – in about an hour.
Most of the planned stations will also be Level 2, although Larson did say the North Florida TPO would consider doing one or two Level 3 stations if the TPO ends up with any extra money.
Using the Chevrolet Bolt as an example, a Level 3 quick-charger can add as much as 90 miles of range in 30 minutes. The charging speed of next-generation Level 3 stations is also expected to increase as new EV models are released.
Currently most public Level 3 stations are capped at 50 kilowatts per hour, but Porsche’s upcoming Taycan, for example, is expected to have a 800-volt charging system that could in theory add around 250 miles of range in 15 minutes, assuming charging stations can be upgraded to deliver power that quickly.
Telsa Supercharger stations - which use a propriety charging standard - can currently provide up to 120 kilowatts per hour.
All the publically funded stations being built across the First Coast are part of the ChargePoint network.
St. Augustine is expected to be one of the next areas to see a rollout. Although Larson couldn’t identity any locations, she said she expects to see about six Level 2 charging stalls coming to the Ancient City soon.
Sales of EVs and plug-in hybrids have been rapidly increasing, just about doubling nationwide in two years.
According Inside EVs, 312,877 EV and hybrid plugins have been sold so far this year in the U.S. That’s up from 199,826 in 2017 and 158,614 in 2016.
Larson said the number of EVs is increasing by about 50 percent each year on the First Coast.
Larson didn’t have any immediately available statistics regarding current usage at the existing Jacksonville public stations, but WJCT News did an informal survey.
Of the three stations visited Monday afternoon, the one at the Cummer Museum on Riverside Ave. was full with two cars charging. One of two stalls was in use at the Riverside Ave. location in the Fidelity office complex, and both stalls were empty at the Jax Chamber’s headquarters at 3 Independent Drive.
For those thinking of purchasing an EV or plugin hybrid, the federal governorment offers a up to $7,500 tax deduction, depending on the size of the battery and JEA offers up to a $1,000 rebate, depending on the size of the vehicle's battery.