The future looks like an empty parking space at a South Tampa Publix.
It's the new, free, helpfully labeled ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING STATION, located in the upstairs garage of the fancy, two-story GreenWise grocery at 2401 W Azeele St. It's a first at a Publix in Florida.
One recent afternoon, over two hours, here's some of what drove by: white Lexus SUV, black BMW SUV, gold Acura SUV, black GMC SUV . . .
And here, on the other hand, is some of what did not: no Nissan Leaf, no Chevy Volt, no plug-it-in Ford Focus. No Fisker Karma.
Estimates are what they are — educated guesses — but they say there will be on American roads more than a million electric cars by 2015, and more than 5 million by 2017, and more than 40 million by 2030.
That's up from what Pike Research says is barely more than 100,000 this year. How many of those cars are in the Sunshine State? Too early to tell. Suncoast Electric Vehicles on Fourth Street in St. Petersburg opened in January. Sales so far: 12.
But Florida has 79 charging stations, according to the latest count on mychargepoint.net, including one across the street from Oldsmar City Hall. More are on the way. The visitor information center in Lakewood Ranch is supposed to get one. So is a Hampton Inn in Miami. So is a Residence Inn in Lake Mary. The Tampa Bay area could get as many as 200 in the next year.
Publix has plans for another 10.
How many times has somebody used the first one since it was installed earlier this month?
"We have had a few people use it," said Shannon Patten of Publix.
"I would say a handful," she said.
For now, though, for the most part: silver Mercedes SUV, black Buick SUV, white Land Rover SUV, black Infiniti SUV . . .
The future takes time.
Michael Kruse, Times staff writer