FPL: Paving the way for electric vehicles
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!