Report: 36,000 electric cars could be on Jacksonville roads by 2030

Media Contacts
Jennifer Rubiello

As electric cars revolutionize the vehicle market, new study helps cities address infrastructure and parking challenges

Environment Florida Research & Policy Center

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — With an estimated 36,000 electric vehicles (EVs) hitting Jacksonville streets by 2030, a new study by Environment Florida Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group notes Jacksonville could need more than 1,200 new charging stations to make sure these new EVs have enough places to park and recharge. The new report, “Plugging In: Readying America’s Cities for the Arrival of Electric Vehicles,” includes local and state data for Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando, and Miami about the projected number of electric cars expected on the road in coming years, and how cities can accommodate these new EVs with enough places to park and recharge. 

“More and more Floridians are plugging into electric cars and leaving gas-guzzlers behind,” stated Jennifer Rubiello of Environment Florida Research & Policy Center. “We have an opportunity to make a positive change after more than a century of vehicles spewing pollutants into the air. Local and state officials who want to plug into this opportunity need to commit to an EV-friendly infrastructure as smooth and fast as possible.” 

In particular, the report calls on local officials to implement the following EV-friendly policies: 

    •    Residential access to on-street EV charging
    •    Access to public charging stations
    •    Support for private investment in publicly-accessible stations
    •    Incentivized EV parking and charging

EV sales nationwide increased 38% in 2016, and then another 32% throughout 2017, as charging stations became more convenient. Those electric car purchases reflect Americans’ values, including a desire to protect our communities’ public health, reduce global warming pollution and stop using so much oil. 

Even the change-resistant auto industry recognizes that the future is electric. GM plans to launch 20 EV models by 2023, while Ford announced last month it plans to invest $11 billion in EVs, with a goal of having 40 models by 2022. These new cars don’t just check off the “electric” box; they’re earning acclaim from mainstream car enthusiasts. Motor Trend even named Chevrolet’s Bolt the 2017 Car of the Year. 

But with more electric vehicles on the road, and many more coming soon, cities need to map out where EVs will charge, particularly in city centers and neighborhoods without off-street parking. In all, major cities will need to install hundreds to thousands of new publicly-accessible electric vehicle chargers to keep the increased number of EVs running, depending on the size of the city.

“American cities risk being unprepared for the impending arrival of thousands of electric vehicles on their streets,” said Alana Miller, policy analyst at Frontier Group and co-author of “Plugging In.” “Without forward-thinking policies that give EV owners places to park and charge their vehicles, cities could lose out on the health and air quality benefits that electric vehicles can deliver.”

The “Plugging In” report estimates that Jacksonville could potentially see 36,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2030. But with more EVs in the streets, the city will need to map out where these vehicles will charge, particularly in downtown areas and in neighborhoods with limited off-street parking.

According to the “Plugging In” report, Jacksonville currently has 73 Level 2 chargers and 18 fast chargers. Level 2 chargers can add 50 miles of range to an EV in 2–4 hours, and are appropriate for charging while shopping or working. Fast chargers (also known as DCFC, for “direct current fast charge”), can add 100 miles of range or more in an hour of charging. By 2030, Jacksonville will need a total of at least 1,300 Level 2 chargers and over 50 fast chargers, the Environment Florida report states.

“The fully realized electric car is changing everything from our homes to highways to our parking lots at work and wherever we drive,” said Susan Glickman, Florida Director for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.“Promoting the use of electric vehicles means cleaner air because clean, renewable energy from solar and wind will power our cars. We must pivot now to accommodate the cars of the future and look for the best practices in public infrastructure for continued mobility in the decades to come.”

The report’s authors note that local and state officials increasingly are having to lead on issues related to climate change, clean energy, and clean cars, as the Trump administration dismantles federal policies that offered concrete solutions to these issues. In the coming weeks, the administration is expected to propose new steps towards revoking federal fuel efficiency standards and weakening clean car policies. 

On the other hand, the pending distribution of $166 million in Florida from the Volkswagen scandal settlement, provides a great opportunity to fund electric vehicle charging infrastructure and electric buses.

“Adopting smart public policies, which have been implemented already in visionary American and international cities, can help more U.S. cities lead the electric vehicle revolution,” noted Rubiello. “For the sake of our public health and environment, it’s crucial that we expand access to clean transportation for those who live, work and play in our urban centers. And once we complete the transition away from gasoline and diesel, we can all breathe easier and see more clearly.”