Hillsborough Commissioners approve electric vehicle charging stations

County Commissioner Mark Sharpe, a leader locally in supporting alternative forms of transportation, said that there were a "number" of Tampa Bay area businesses that will be investing in electric cars and selling them, but they need to know that there are stations in place to allow such motorists to get the power they need to travel through the area.


Reflecting upon the concern whether electric cars will really become popular, he said, "We've seen dramatic transformation in industries with computers, cellphones. The way we communicate and share information has changed dramatically. Well, also the way we drive and how we get our energy is going to change as well."


County officials say they are partnering with the St. Pete Times Forum and Hillsborough Community College because of the costs. Even though the feds have provided a grant, the local entities need to pay for the installation. It will cost $550 for a start up fee, and then another $1,000 per station for materials.


Here's a list of where the charging stations will be constructed:


2 - County’s Pierce Street Parking Garage, 319 N. Pierce St.


2 - St. Pete Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive


1 - Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County, 3629 Queen Palm Drive


1 - Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library, 2902 W. Bearss Ave.


1 - Jan Kaminis Platt Regional Library, 3910 S. Manhattan Ave.


1 - Brandon Regional Library, 619 Vondenburg Road


1 - Town ‘N County Commons, 7606 Paula Drive


1 - Hillsborough Community College, 4001 W. Tampa Bay Blvd.


The pilot will end in Jan. 2014, and at that time, Commissioners can decide if they will keep the existing units and pay for their maintenance and upkeep, and connection to the charging station network.

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Advocates for electric cars say that an obstacle to having more models on the market in 2011 is the short range that many such EV models can travel without needing a recharge, and a lack of charging infrastructure.

So as a way to encourage more usage, the U.S. Department of Energy has distributed grants for constructing charging stations to a number of U.S. municipalities. One of them is Hillsborough County, and Wednesday at the Board of County Commission's meeting, officials discussed how 10 such charging stations will soon be constructed in Tampa and the county by this fall.

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