Make us your home page

Electric car expo gets under way in Tampa

NovaCharge, a national maker of electric vehicle charging stations, had only one charger in the Tampa area a year ago.

Now it has more than 200.

The electric vehicle industry, though still just a blip compared to its gas-powered competition, is growing quickly across the country. Organizers of the EV International Expo are trying to put Tampa in a position to lead the way.

The three-day conference, which will last through Thursday, is focused on informing the public about the benefits of electric vehicles.

Besides showing off some sleek electric and converted cars, industry experts at the convention will be answering questions and giving presentations in hopes of convincing potential buyers that electric cars are a viable alternative.

About a dozen electric and hybrid cars are on display, including a Chevrolet Volt, a Nissan Leaf and a converted Porsche.

"We're not pushing anyone's brand," said EV International Expo CEO Doug Mitchell. "We're bringing the whole of the technology to the public."

Electric vehicles — EVs in industry speak — are starting to gain popularity across the country, but Florida has been relatively slow to catch on, said Rob Keith, a marketing strategist with Ignition Branding who helped promote the event. He estimates that there are more charging stations in Tampa than there are electric vehicles on Tampa roads.

But Florida, with its flat terrain and warm weather, is perfect for battery-operated cars, Keith said.

With the charging stations already in place (businesses can get tax credits for "going green"), the appropriate weather and a growing population, Florida is in a position to become a leader in the electric vehicle movement.

But only if Florida consumers embrace the technology.

"The infrastructure is here; you just need to create the demand," Keith said.

One of the first steps to helping Florida reach its electric vehicle potential is to ease consumers' fears about some common misconceptions about electric cars, Keith said.

Electric cars are expensive, ranging from $35,000 to more than $100,000. But the federal government offers a $7,500 tax credit to those who buy EVs. (Electric car owners save about $1,000 annually on fuel and maintenance costs compared to gas-powered car owners.)

A single charge can fuel some electric cars for almost 80 miles. With more charging stations popping up in public parking lots and garages, drivers are not likely to get stranded, Keith said. The technology will only get better, and less expensive, with time.

"The more consumer demand there is, the more money the manufacturers will put into updating the battery and improving the experience," he said.

Still, said Christopher Mallardi, another promoter of the event, electric transportation models are still in the early stages. Industry leaders are still trying to spread the word and educate consumers.

"It's a coming wave," he said.

>> Fast Facts

EV International Expo

When: Today through Thursday

Where: The A La Carte Event Pavilion, 4050 Dana Shores Drive

General admission: $10 per person

On the Web:

Electric car expo gets under way in Tampa 02/21/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 9:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  2. New York town approves Legoland proposal


    GOSHEN, N.Y. — New York is one step closer to a Lego dreamland. Goshen, a small town about fifty miles northwest of the Big Apple, has approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park.

    A small New York town, Goshen approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park. Legoland Florida is in Winter Haven. [Times file  photo]
  3. Jordan Park to get $20 million makeover and new senior housing

    Real Estate


    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which bought back the troubled Jordan Park public housing complex this year, plans to spend about $20 million to improve the 237-unit property and construct a new three-story building for …

    Jordan Park, the historic public housing complex, is back in the hands of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The agency is working to improve the 237-unit complex. But the latest plan to build a new three-story building for seniors will mean 31 families have to find new homes. [LARA CERRI   |   Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Coming soon at two Tampa Bay area hospitals: a cancer treatment that could replace chemo


    A new cancer treatment that could eventually replace chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants — along with their debilitating side effects — soon will be offered at two of Tampa Bay's top-tier hospitals.

    Dr. Frederick Locke at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa is a principal investigator for an experimental therapy that retrains white blood cells in the body's immune system to fight cancer cells. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved these so-called "CAR-T" treatments for adults this month. In trials, 82 percent of cases responded well to the treatment, and 44 percent are still in remission at least eight months later, Locke said. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  5. Regulator blasts Wells Fargo for deceptive auto insurance program


    Wells Fargo engaged in unfair and deceptive practices, failed to properly manage risks and hasn't set aside enough money to pay back the customers it harmed, according to a confidential report by federal regulators.

    Wells Fargo engaged in unfair and deceptive practices, failed to properly manage risks and hasn't set aside enough money to pay back the customers it harmed, according to a confidential report by federal regulators.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images, 2017]