Make us your home page

Tampa firm brings first charging station for electric cars to the area

The stations that NovaCharge expects to start planting around the Tampa Bay region are manufactured in California by Coulomb Technologies.

Coulcomb Technologies

The stations that NovaCharge expects to start planting around the Tampa Bay region are manufactured in California by Coulomb Technologies.

TAMPA — Charging stations for electric cars near apartment complexes. A charge that takes 10 minutes in a mall parking space. Affordable electric vehicles.

That's the dream — making electric vehicles an alternative to gas-powered vehicles. There's a long way to go, but the Tampa Bay region is getting a start.

NovaCharge, a Tampa-based distributor, gives the area its first charging unit for electric cars this week. To be installed outside Solar Source, 10840 Endeavour Way in Largo, the stand-alone unit provides a full charge in about four hours.

As manufacturers prepare to introduce new electric cars, more charging stations are starting to appear. The U.S. Energy Department recognizes two stations in the state, but a nonprofit organization has put in 25 more.

In Cocoa, for instance, three units each with three plug-in options wait for motorists at the Florida Solar Energy Center. Someone drives in for a charge about every two months.

It's slow, yes.

But the installation of charging stations needs to grow before car manufacturers release electric models in the next couple of years, said Ron Phillips, Solar Source's director of training and sales.

The Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf, both extended-range electric cars, are scheduled be released in more than a year.

"It's an egg thing," said Bill Young, a board member of the Energy Department's Florida Space Coast Clean Cities Coalition. "Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?"

That's the problem. And the Florida Electric Auto Association won't wait. The organization paid for 25 units and installations between the Florida Keys and New Smyrna Beach.

Charles Whalen, the group's charging director, said local politicians can't justify using tax money to put in the stations during a recession — especially when there are only 200 electric vehicles capable of driving on Florida's highways.

As more charging units appear, Whalen predicts affordable electric vehicles for a broader audience will develop in five years. He thinks it will take 30 years for electric vehicles to account for more than half of new car sales.

Offers for the free units and their installation at about $7,000 each have been welcomed except in Delray Beach.

The stations NovaCharge expects to start planting around the Tampa Bay area are manufactured in California by Coulomb Technologies and part of a global network tracked online. A map on the company's Web site shows real-time availability.

A consumer uses a subscription-based card or credit card for each plug-in session. An e-mail or text message announces the end of a charge hours later to a subscribing customer.

Unit owners can make money by collecting 80 percent of revenue on a unit. The rest goes for maintenance, said Helda Rodriguez, NovaCharge president.

"The first person who took a chance and put an ATM in Busch Gardens today is probably making a lot of money," Rodriguez said.

Unlimited monthly charges go for $50.

By the end of 2010, at least 600 charging units are expected to dot the Southeast from Washington to the Florida Keys.

Rodriguez wants to see 200 to 400 of those units in Florida.

There's big support.

President Barack Obama recently granted $2.4 billion in stimulus money for the development of electric vehicles, including $95.5 million for a cell and battery manufacturing company in Jacksonville, according to the Energy Department.

In time, technology developments will lead to cheaper cars and better batteries.

"It's just that this is going to take longer than flat-screen TVs and cell phones did," Whalen said.

Ileana Morales can be reached at or (813) 226-3403.

Tampa firm brings first charging station for electric cars to the area 08/11/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 11:12am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Expanded Belle Parc RV Resort lures travelers with plenty of amenities


    BROOKSVILLE — Imagine mid-mansion, upscale-enclave living. On wheels. The outcome is Belle Parc, an upwardly mobile, even luxury, RV retreat just north of Brooksville that opened Jan. 1 after two years undergoing expansion, uplift and amenity enrichment.

    A new welcome center is under construction, rear, at Belle Parc RV Resort, where lake sites are being completed, bringing the resort's capacity to 275 spacious park-and-stay slots.
 [Photo by Beth N. Gray]
  2. Memorial Day sales not enough to draw shoppers to Tampa Bay malls


    TAMPA — Memorial Day sales at Tampa Bay area malls were not enough to compete with the beach and backyard barbecues this holiday weekend.

    Memorial Day sales weren't enough to draw shoppers to Tampa Bay area malls over the long weekend. 
  3. Austin software company acquires second Tampa business


    Austin, Tex.-based Asure Software acquired Tampa's Compass HRM Inc. late last week for $6 million. Compass focuses on HR and payroll.

    [Company photo]
  4. Hackers hide cyberattacks in social media posts


    SAN FRANCISCO — It took only one attempt for Russian hackers to make their way into the computer of a Pentagon official. But the attack didn't come through an email or a file buried within a seemingly innocuous document.

    Jay Kaplan and Mark Kuhr, former NSA employees and co-founders of Synack, a cybersecurity company, in their office in Palo Alto, Calif., in 2013. While last year's hacking of senior Democratic Party officials raised awareness of the damage caused if just a handful of employees click on the wrong emails, few people realize that a message on Twitter or Facebook could give an attacker similar access to their system. 
[New York Times file photo]
  5. Big rents and changing tastes drive dives off St. Pete's 600 block

    Music & Concerts

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kendra Marolf was behind the lobby bar of the State Theatre, pouring vodka sodas for a weeknight crowd packed tight for Bishop Briggs, the latest alternative artist to sell out her club.

    Sam Picciano, 25, left, of Tampa and Molly Cord 24, Palm Harbor shop for record albums for a friend at Daddy Kool Records located on the 600 block of Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida on Saturday, May 20, 2017. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times