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CHANGING THE CURRENT

CHANGING THE CURRENT

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FPL: Paving the way for electric vehicles

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When people see me driving down the road, they often look twice. Let’s face it, there aren’t that many electric vehicles cruising on Florida highways….yet.

But if you had a chance to drive one, you might just fall in love, like I have.

I have driven the Nissan Leaf, the Chevy Volt, and even some of the EV models you may not have heard of, like the Ford Transit Connect.

I love monitoring the tools on the dashboards that tell me exactly how much fuel I’m saving at any moment. I must admit I’m somewhat obsessed with trying to maximize my mileage from each charge. When you compare the cost of driving an EV to a standard gas vehicle, it would be like paying 77 cents per gallon. That’s quite a savings from the more than $3 per gallon price most of us pay now.

People often ask me what happens when my car’s electric charge runs out and I tell them I’ve never run into that problem. EVs come with lots of tools to help you avoid running out of juice – like maps that help me find charging stations, and dashboard indicators telling me how many miles I have left in the battery.

Usually, I just charge the EV at home. With a “level 1” charger, which comes with EVs, you simply plug it in a standard 120-volt outlet at home and it will fully charge overnight. If you’re looking for a speedier charge, you can invest in a “level 2” electric car charger, which does the job in just a few hours; but you may have to make electrical changes at your home to accommodate this particular level of charger.

The fact is, most Americans drive less than 40 miles a day. So the Volt, which averages 35-40 miles per charge, and the Leaf, which averages 75 or more, will satisfy most of us in our daily travels. The Volt is an “extended range electric vehicle,” which means it has a gasoline engine that will kick in as soon as the electric charge runs out. A Leaf is a battery electric vehicle (BEV) which is 100 percent electric, no gas, no emissions vehicle.

At FPL, we know that more and more of our customers will choose to drive electric vehicles in the years ahead, and we’re ready to meet their needs. Even if every car purchased in the U.S. this year were an electric vehicle, utilities wouldn’t need to build a single new power plant. That’s because EVs represent a tiny fraction of the overall electric demand.

Electric cars create zero emissions. They have a great potential to help us become better stewards of our natural resources and our environment. At FPL, we’ve already begun greening our fleet. We have invested in 1,500 biodiesel-powered vehicles and more than 400 hybrid cars or plug-in EVs. We’re committed to transitioning our entire fleet of more than 2,400 company vehicles and trucks to plug-in hybrid cars by 2020.

This week, FPL is hosting an Electric Vehicles Stakeholder Summit, in conjunction with the South Florida Regional Planning Council and Gold Coast Clean Cities Coalition. Representatives from leading automakers such as Nissan, Ford and General Motors will be there, as well as other industry experts – all discussing plans for how to bring more electric vehicles to market and prepare for the road ahead.

So if you happen to see me on the roads, driving an EV, feel free to give me a wave. But if I look distracted, don’t be offended. I’m probably just doing the math in my head, figuring out how much money I’m saving on gas!

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Comments [10]

  1. Mark Walchak

    I live in the Fort Myers/Naples area and I drive the Chevy Volt which is the best car I have ever owned, but there are very few charging stations in the area. If you look are other areas of the county, there are many places that I can pull into a super market or a shopping center and charge my car while shopping, but not here in SW Florida.

  2. Stephen Schiff

    I would like to install a Nema14-50 outlet in my covered parking place at my condo. Will FP&L evaluate for me how best to do this? I know I will need a licensed electrician, but I would feel better if FP&L gave me the guidelines how to do this in the most inefficient manner.

  3. Tom Deuley

    I have a Plug-In Prius and live in Port Charlotte where everything I need is within 2 miles. My first 11 miles everyday, and sometimes twice a day is pure electric and in most months I only get less than 8 gallons of gas once per month, and in some months no gas at all. To bad the Plug-In Prius is not sold in Florida; some how or another this is a mistake. Electric Vehicles are a big part of the Climate problem solution and somebody needs to be pushing it harder than it has been. The arguments against them (EVs) is specious at best.

  4. Steve Snell

    Totally agree! There needs to be more quick chargers (level 3 - CHAdeMO) to make electric vehicles mainstream. Level II chargers are faster than Level I, but CHAdeMO level 3 chargers make longer distance a reality. Also would be nice to see a simple way for people to sign up for time of use electric fees for overnight charging.

  5. Steve Webb

    FPL Give us CHAdeMO, chargers your statement on the couple of hours to charge a Level 2 is incorrect for EVs to become an acceptable alternative we need to follow Tesla's example 20 minuet Supercharging (and its Free) not 5 hours at a level 2 charging station.

  6. norman weigen

    Does FPL plan on offering e-vehicle owners discounted night time charging rates to encourage off peak usage to utilize using FPL's idle capacity.

  7. E. Hach

    If I purchase an electric vehicle like the Nissan Leaf how much does it cost per mile? I can't find anything on this. How will I calculate how much would about 15,000 miles cost a year? Or How much does it cost a mile? I know gas cars are per mile...do they figure the electric by the mile? I drive about 74 miles each day round trip. My electric bill was just $27.00 last month....I want to have an idea of how much it will go up...hundreds?

  8. Robert Thompson

    I drive an 04 Diesel Pickup for it's towing ability. An 05 same model with a programmer didn't get the same mi, as mine w/o a programmer due to emissions. Due to vehicle & insurance costs, I cannot afford a 2nd vehicle. I have spent $400.00 dollars on a programmer to maximize fuel effiencency by almost 1 mi per gallon. 180,000 mi on the truck. Currently I'm driving 84.4 mi to work & back each day using my son's Honda Civic, (fuel cost & milage). I'm actually fearful driving such a low profile vehicle (SMALL). In a truck format with something bigger than a 4 cyl. engine, who has the best towing capacity/most efficient Truck on the market? I'm all for saving fuel but, a fuel conversion on a diesel vs effiencency? Any viable suggestions other than a car?

  9. marcos romero

    Great to see the future is getting closer to happening. I have three Prius Hybrids in my Family and I to am to suffering with the new obsession on mileage result. After owning a Chevy Corvette a car I absolutely loved to drive I made the change over to a new driving experience and do not regret it at all. My incentive came after realizing that the price we pay to fuel our cars is much more than the price at the pump. The hidden costs far out way the benefits. From the concern for the environment to the cost in lives to maintain an addiction to carbon based fuels are costs that I felt conscience wise to be to great any longer. Marcos

  10. Justin king

    My interest is one that I have been pondering for many months. I was thinking that eV's would be very benificial as rental cars in the Florida market. Prior to the governer destroying all hopes of high speed rail system in the state of Florida. It was a consideration of mine that eV's would be the perfect vehicles to counter the opponents of high speed rail. That there was no way to get around once you reached your destination. It would seem to me that eV's would provide the perfect savings and mobility needed to counter there complaint. Affordable electric cars with hubs at major attractions seemed very do able. I would happily pay 500 a year to allow me to zip down to maimi,tampa or orlando knowing that I could easily get a EV to allow me to easily assess the theme parks, casios concerts or take in a dolphins or marlins game. I know this is a bit off your orginal concept but am I wrong to see the future of this state as one large community that can be access relatively easily with the help of eV's.