FPL races to prepare roads for expected jump in electric car sales
SOUTHWEST FLORIDA – Florida ushers in a new era of driving.
In the next five to ten years, the number of electric cars on the roads is expected to double. Florida Power and Light said it is estimated that one in five vehicles sold in the United States will be battery-powered by 2030.
“I love it. I’m all over it,” said Amanda Bostelman, Fort Myers resident.
Bostelman just made the switch. In September, she bought a Tesla.
“My favorite thing is how technologically advanced it is. I can control all the air conditioners. I can control the heated seats. I always know where my car is, it’s connected to my app, ”she says.
Teslas are growing in popularity, but high-tech, high-performance rides aren’t the only ones propelling us into the next generation.
The major car manufacturers are announce plans to go all-electric over the next decade. Meanwhile, Florida Power and Light is running to prepare the roads.
Are Florida’s roads ready?
FPL launched its Evolution program in 2019, which includes expanding accessibility for electric vehicle chargers.
“We have a bold plan to install over 1,000 charging ports at approximately 100 locations across our territory,” said Peter Martinez, FPL project manager.
FPL fast chargers are emerging in businesses and college campuses. One of the newer fast-charging stations is in Colonial Square off Six Mile Cypress in Fort Myers.
Martinez said you can expect to find them about every 50 miles along major highways in Florida.
“It’s an exciting time for electric vehicles. There’s a lot going on in the industry right now, ”he said.
How charging stations work
Many drivers who have never been behind the wheel of a battery-powered car have questions – How long does it take to charge? How long does it last?
“These [fast chargers] can charge a vehicle in about 30 minutes, ”Martinez said. “So that’s a game-changer for people who may need to travel long distances or just need a quick charge.”
Martinez said the length varies depending on how long a full charge takes.
“Depending on the vehicle, one charge can give you a range of 150 to 300 miles,” he said.
According to EverCharge, most gasoline vehicles have a range of 250 to 300 miles before they need to be refueled.
Martinez said FPL chargers are universal. If you have a Tesla, you just need an adapter.
Bostelman said she took her Tesla on a long trip before and it actually made the experience better for her.
“I drove it from Cleveland, Ohio, here in February,” she said.
Using Tesla’s technology, she was able to easily find chargers along the way.
“It’s really practical. In the Tesla control panel and also in the app, it will map all the super chargers along your route, ”said Bostelman.
She said she found them at many gas stations, grocery stores and even hotels.
“It forced me to know some areas where I wouldn’t necessarily stop to look around,” she said.
Electric vehicles would have a major positive impact on the environment.
ABC7 wanted to know to what extent they could really help slow the effects of climate change.
“If we don’t see this pull, we don’t see this movement, life in Florida is going to become quite uncomfortable,” said Jo Ann Muller, professor of marine and earth sciences at FGCU.
Muller is an expert on the impact of climate change. She cites the dramatic climate changes that are already happening as examples.
“Obviously, we are already seeing a warming through time of our atmosphere, which is also warming our oceans, which affects sea level rise and hurricanes,” she said.
Emissions from gas consumers only make matters worse.
“We know it is [C02 emissions] are currently our main contributor to climate change, ”said Muller.
If the world doesn’t start making major changes under the Paris Agreement, Muller said summers in Florida could get about 12 degrees warmer.
The switch to electric vehicles could change that, making the next decade the decade of the fight against climate change.
“I really hope it does, because if it doesn’t, I think we will have real problems in the future,” she said.
A big question is also whether electric cars are really as green as people say. The answer depends on how the power grids are operated. If they use charcoal, they still do a little bit of harm.
FPL has declared that it no longer operates coal-fired power stations. Their energy sources are natural gas, solar and nuclear.
Martinez said FPL is also using the new fast-charging stations to collect usage data to further prepare the power grid.
For more information on the evolution program and the new chargers, you can visit the FPL website.