Electric cars might not exactly be taking over the roads right now, but that’s not stopping the city of Tampa from installing a number of electric vehicle charging stations around town.
Just last month, Mayor Bob Buckhorn drove up to the Jackson Street Garage in Downtown Tampa to charge up a borrowed Chevy Volt at one of these 10 new charging stations installed around the city.
This is the first of, hopefully, many efforts the City of Tampa will take to foster a driving environment conducive to environmentally fueled electric vehicles.
The Chevy Volt, the poster vehicle for personal electricity-powered transportation today, runs on an electric engine fueled by a rechargeable battery for the first 25 to 50 miles then a gasoline generator after that. So, when the battery runs out, the Volt runs on power from the gasoline generator for another 344 miles on 9.3 gallons of gas.
This means charging isn’t absolutely necessary to get the car running (like gasoline in a normal car), but a good, money saving convenience.
City officials say this is just the beginning of fostering an electric car-friendly environment in the city of Tampa. While this is ideal for maintaining an environmentally friendly city, it does come at a cost. Each of these stations cost around $8,000 each.
People, in turn, are hesitant to buy electric cars due to the dearth of charging stations around their cities as well as the extra cost required to install them at home (typically around $2,000). It’s kind of a catch 22 situation, but many are working to make electric cars a popular reality in the future. For instance, the 10 charging stations are costly, but didn’t cost the city a dime due to a $15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The government also grants tax credits to those who purchase electric cars as well.
Hopefully we’ll get to a point where electric cars are more plentiful, affordable, and sensible to have in a city environment like Tampa. It starts with us, really. Increased demand will ideally mean more wallet-friendly prices and public charging stations around the city for these vehicles. Day by day it seems, gasoline power becomes more and more detrimental to our environment and personal finances. While initially pricey, personal electric transportation could easily become an economically feasible option over its lifespan.
In an effort to foster the electric vehicle friendly environment, the city aims to have at least 150 charging stations by the end of the year.