New electric vehicle charging stations installed in St. Petersburg

05/09/12 Olivia Kabat
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Several electric vehicle charging stations have recently opened in St. Petersburg. Two charging stations are open at the University of South Florida’s St. Petersburg campus and ten other stations have opened throughout downtown and the Grand Central district.

Now electric vehicle motorists can charge their cars for free in St. Pete. The installation of the new charging stations creates opportunities for residents to use alternate energy sources instead of fossil fuels as a way to promote a “green” lifestyle. Robert Danielson, Manager of Communications and Creative Services for the city says the community has responded well to the new electric charging stations.

“Extremely positive, we have on 4th Street the first electric vehicle dealership that opened in the Tampa Bay area, Suncoast Electric Vehicles. We’re seeing a proliferation of electric vehicles, downtown and on our streets. We hope that this program will continue to grow as the demand for electric vehicles in our community grows.”

Danielson says the St. Pete charging stations were funded by the ChargePoint America Program.

“Most of these vehicles can accommodate two vehicles charging at the same time. Currently there is no charge for the 90 day opening period. After that point we’re looking at accessing what our cost is which is approximately 40 cents an hour.”

Tom Scherberger, Communications Director at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg says the students at USF also focus on energy conservation and environmental awareness. There are two newly installed charging stations at the USF St. Pete campus.

“Also we have a pretty robust or growing awareness of sustainability and the need to be as green as we can. This generation of students is very focused on that. They really want to see the University doing as much as it can.”

Scherberger says powering vehicles through electricity is much more energy and cost efficient than gasoline.

“You know the most obvious one is that these cars don’t produce the same level of carbon dioxide because they’re being run primarily by electric engines. You don’t have the same kind of green house gas emissions that you would get from regular car. So that’s the primary benefit from it.”

The city of St. Petersburg and the university will continue to monitor the usage and costs of the electric charging stations to know if more installations are needed in the future.

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