City of Jacksonville to Install Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

The city of Jacksonville will soon have electric vehicle charging stations at strategic points around the city, providing the service in an otherwise EV desert. The stations will be installed and operated by EV Tech at no cost to the city.

Assistant City Manager ReNissa Wade said initial locations for the charging stations will likely be in the city’s downtown parking lot, near the library and at the newly renovated civic center.

“Right now, through the East Texas corridor, there is not an availability of chargers or any kind,” said Tim McRae, District 3 Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem. “East Texas is just a void for chargers and TxDOT’s recognized it.”

McRae, who introduced the idea of the city providing the charging stations, said manufacturers are really pushing electric vehicles. He received his first electric vehicle, a Ford Lightning, as owner of Bill McRae Ford. It was sent as a demo vehicle.

The idea of the city offering charging stations came after he took his wife to Galveston in the battery-powered pickup.

“She asked me before we left, ‘Are we going to be able to get there and back without charging?’ and I said, ‘Oh, no. We’re going to experience what the customer will experience,” McRae said.

In planning the trip, they had to plot a route based on available charging stations.

“The infrastructure is not developed enough yet where there’s chargers everywhere,” McRae said. “So you can’t just get in your car, like you do with gas, and take off because you know whenever you need gas, there’s a gas station around every corner.”

Aside from the small number of chargers available, and with many of those accessible only to Teslas, Wade said the government is offering rebates and tax incentives to purchase electric vehicles.

“You can get up to $10,000 in rebates and tax credits, between the state of Texas and the federal government, for buying an EV,” Wade said.

“As more of our residents will migrate to that, it’s really important for us to have the amenities here that they may want or require,” he said “We were looking at it from an amenities standpoint for our local residents as well as people coming in and actually taking advantage of our adorable city.”

Daniel Seguin, Director of Communication and Tourism, who lives in Tyler, said the only electric chargers he is aware of in that city are the ones at Fresh.

“I think what we’re going to have here is something that Tyler will probably do down the road. They’re not there yet,” Seguin said. “We’re a little bit ahead of the game from that perspective.”

He and McRae mentioned a Level 3 charger in Lindale, but noted it is for Tesla only.

“If you think about all the folks in Tyler who have EVs, a lot of them are traveling to Houston,” Seguin said. “They’re probably going to stop off in Jacksonville to top off their tank, so to speak, because they’ve got a long gap between here and Houston, where they won’t have any place to charge.”

Residents uninterested in electric vehicles will also benefit from the stations.

“If we can divert traffic here for economic development or boom or recycling or dollars, that means something to property tax,” Wade said. “That means something to what you’re able to see happening in our community from a recreation standpoint, from an infrastructure standpoint and development here. We are so proud of places like Chick-fil-A and Starbucks and Ritual and other draws that are coming into town, but as we get our place on the map, it’s going to drive other businesses to want to look at us to come here as well.”

The general consensus is, as people stop in Jacksonville to charge their vehicles, they will spend money while in town and those dollars from outside the city provide greater tax dollars and stimulate the local economy.

“These chargers are almost a no-brainer,” Seguin said. “They cost us absolutely nothing and they’re bringing a benefit to those who live here and they’re going to cause people to stop downtown who never have before.”

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