The first City owned electric vehicle (EV) charging station went live on Wednesday, August 2nd and was celebrated with an inaugural ribbon cutting and a charging demonstration. Joliet Mayor Terry D’Arcy flipped the activation switch and received the first charge. The new charging station, located in downtown Joliet, is the first step in the City’s overall plan to build an EV charging infrastructure network throughout the City.
“It’s a great day to activate our first set of EV chargers”, stated Mayor Darcy. “The City’s new downtown charging station will be an immediate benefit to our residents, downtown workforce, and those visiting our downtown for food, entertainment, and excitement. There is a growing demand for charging stations, and we want to be ready for the emergence and growth of electric cars, trucks, buses, and the like”.
Cesar Suarez, economic development director shared, “While EV sales in the USA were only about 4% of total vehicle sales in 2020, it is projected to grow exponentially to 40 to 50% by 2030. A similar trend is taking place in IL and locally,” stated Suarez. “with EV vehicle registrations doubling every two years for Joliet, Will County. and State of IL.” According to the Secretary of State’s website the number of EV registrations went up from 25 to 222 from 2018 to 2021 in Joliet; from 410 to 3,800 for Will County; and from 8,500 to 60,000 in IL, showing a 55%, 56%, and 46% annual growth rate for the City, County and State, respectively.
“We are gradually building our Charging Infrastructure in preparation for what’s to come” said Greg Ruddy, Director of Public Works. “Today we installed two Level 2 chargers at the Ottawa Parking Deck and in the coming months will be adding a new charging station at our Joliet Street and Van Buren Street parking lot. In total we will have eight Level 2 charging ports in our downtown by September.”
The City is seeking a $7.0 million in Federal grant to further build out its charging infrastructure. The grant envisions the installation of up to seven (7) Level 3 DCFC Charging Stations near highway interchanges and up to seventeen (17) Level 2 Charging Stations near retail and entertainment centers over a five-year period. Level 3 charging units can fully charge an EV in 30 to 45 minutes, while Level 2 charging units typically take 2.5 to 5 hours to fully charge. “Should we get a notice of award, the City will seek out a private entity to provide 20% of the project cost, share in the ownership of the units, and contract to install, operate, and maintain the charging infrastructure.”, stated Interim City Manager Rod Tonelli. “We would also seek Council direction and approval to channel any residual income generated from all our charging stations to support other City initiatives. The additional funds generated from charging station may grow to support such things as special events and beautification projects.” said Tonelli.