Electric Vehicle Infrastructure in Florida

 In EV Charging

Lying firmly within the hurricane belt, Florida is fully aware of the impacts of climate change. Accordingly, the state has adopted a proactive approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including Plug-In Electric Vehicles (PEVs) and the necessary charging infrastructure. Globally, there are 3.1 million electric vehicles in operation, and this number will rise to at least 125 million by 2030. Although lower battery costs, increased range, fast charging, and government incentives underpin this growth, Florida has extra reasons for promoting green transportation.

Why Adopt PEVs?

Florida’s government understands that PEVs could add $1.6 billion to the state economy and create 9,500 jobs. Electric vehicles will improve air quality in cities and, with the support of renewable energy, will help the state meet its emission targets. To add to the appeal, improved ranges, of over 200 miles, and fast charging infrastructure means that drivers will soon be able to travel across the entire state. With some models costing less than $40,000, PEVs are affordable and cost-effective, reducing fuel and maintenance costs by up to 50%.

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A number of government incentives encourage PEV uptake in Florida. For example, the federal government provides a grant of $7,500 for PEV purchases, and the state may add rebates and sales tax exemptions. Some utilities, including Jacksonville Electric Authority and the Orlando Utilities Commission, also offer financial incentives. Electric vehicles can use the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane on some highways and travel toll-free or benefit from exclusive parking and insurance discounts. Overall, Florida boasts approximately 23,376 PEVs, the second highest number after California. Of course, the state has to ensure that the charging infrastructure matches this growth.
Present Charging Infrastructure

Florida has 2,041 charging stations, and most cities offer a multitude of options. Stations are plentiful along the coastlines, especially the I-95 expressway, although there are fewer stations for people driving coast to coast. The EV charging stations fall into three standard categories:

  • Level 1: Often fitted in homes, these stations draw power from the 120V grid, and the onboard charger converts AC power to DC. 6.6kW charging provides 2 – 5 miles of range per hour, enough for a daily commute.
  • Level 2: Level 2 stations, in homes, workplaces, and charging stations, operate at 208 – 240V and provide 10 – 60 miles of range per hour.
  • Fast charging: Fast charge charging stations couple a 480V DC power source directly to the battery. At present, there is no particular standard, so Tesla has a supercharger network, while other models use the CHAdeMO or SAE Combo technology. Level 3 chargers deliver approximately 80% of battery capacity in half an hour.

A number of companies provide charging infrastructure in Florida:

  • ChargePoint: ChargePoint provides independent charging stations for property owners, who can set their own prices.
  • SemaConnect: SemaConnect is the third-largest supplier of charging stations in the US, and provides Level 2 charging stations.
  • Blink: In Miami, Blink offers an exclusive network of charging stations, including nine parking garages. All drivers can use the network, which adds 20 – 25 miles of range in 40 – 60 minutes.
  • EVgo: EVgo is the largest public fast-charging network in the US, and offers 50kW charging for all types of PEV.

Incentives

A number of incentives promote charging infrastructure in homes, workplaces, and public places. For example, the Orlando Utilities Commission offers a $200 rebate for businesses and multi-family buildings, while Gulf Power’s offers $750 to residential customers. Brickell Energy, through the aFloat Program, offers incentives for purchasing or renting equipment, while Duke Energy offers free Level 2 and 3 installation for multiple-unit residences, businesses, and high-traffic corridors.

Many local governments offer financial incentives and, statewide, the Florida Transportation Plan suggests:

  • Rebates for commercial buildings installing charge points,
  • Highway rest stations should install charging points,
  • State fleets should adopt a percentage of EVs,
  • New residential and commercial developments should consider charging points.

Sarasota’s ‘ChargeUP’ program offers rebates of between 25% and 50% of the purchase cost for Level 2 or 3 stations, which must be publically available for 8 hours per day.

Investments

Across the state, many utilities are investing in EV infrastructure. For example, Duke Energy will spend $8 million installing over 500 charging stations, with 10% located in low-income communities. Gulf Power is also installing a number of revenue-neutral NovaCHARGE stations. A Duke Energy study, Charge Florida, will track drivers’ charging habits and identify optimal charging locations.

Florida will receive $166 million from the Volkswagen Clean Air Act Settlement, which it will reinvest into zero-emissions energy, including EV. As part of this, Electrify America has selected Miami for a $40 million investment in non-proprietary charging networks. Finally, the Florida Smart City Challenge Grant Program will fund local innovation related to EVs.

Conclusion

Overall, PEV adoption in Florida is growing, and the state and its utilities are developing plans and providing incentives to expand the charging infrastructure. This will help to reduce pollution and greenhouse emissions while lowering costs for drivers and opening up the state for electric vehicles.

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