Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Oldsmar becomes Tampa Bay's first city to install electric car station

Oldsmar’s new electric car charging station stands ready for use. The access fee will be $1. It’s the first of four stations the city plans.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

Oldsmar’s new electric car charging station stands ready for use. The access fee will be $1. It’s the first of four stations the city plans.

OLDSMAR — The city founded by the inventor of the Oldsmobile — the oldest car brand — is paving the way for greener vehicles.

Oldsmar has become the first city in Tampa Bay to roll out a vehicle charging station as part of a federally funded program aimed at reducing the nation's dependency on foreign oil.

The city met that challenge on Wednesday by installing its first of four stations on State Street W.

Oldsmar City Council member Linda Norris said it's important to be on the front line of green initiatives. "Oldsmar is not the sleepy city that a lot people think that it is," Norris said of the city founded by Ransom E. Olds.

The station is across from City Hall at 101 State Street W. Within the next 30 days, Oldsmar plans to install two others on State Street and another on St. Petersburg Drive, said Julie Foster, the city's sustainability coordinator.

It will cost only a buck to charge up in Oldsmar, she said. The city plans to charge a $1 access fee no matter how long vehicles plug into the stations manufactured by Coulomb Technologies.

Typically, the stations fully charge electric cars within four hours, said Joe Vumbaco, a vice president at NovaCharge, the distributor of the charging stations.

The federally funded ChargePoint America grant program covers the cost of the stations, which run about $7,000 or $8,000 each, Vumbaco said. The $37 million program is made possible by a grant funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The goal of the ChargePoint America program is to have 100 stations available for charging plug-in vehicles throughout Tampa Bay by the end of October, Vumbaco said.

The program is also setting the stage for hundreds of stations in Orlando.

"Just knowing those charging stations are there adds confidence to the marketplace," said Avera Wynne, planning director of the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, which helped launch a regional initiative called Get Ready Tampa Bay.

The initiative is preparing for the widespread use of electric vehicles down the road. It includes government agencies, utility companies and businesses in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Manatee counties. City partners include Oldsmar, Clearwater, Dunedin, Gulfport, Seminole and St. Petersburg. The regional partnership is an affiliate of a national nonprofit called Project Get Ready.

St. Petersburg is planning to install 10 electric car charging stations downtown.

For now, Clearwater plans to install one station in the Garden Avenue parking garage downtown. It's on order and should be shipped within the next 10 days, said city spokeswoman Joelle Castelli.

In Dunedin, city leaders discussed stations this week, but haven't decided how many, if any, will be installed.

President Barack Obama has called for 1 million electric vehicles on U.S. highways by 2015.

So far, they're far from common on the roads. But interest is growing for the vehicles, which include the Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid electric car manufactured by General Motors, and Nissan's 100 percent electric vehicle called the Leaf.

"There's a great positive buzz about these vehicles and this technology, but we haven't really had a full-speed-ahead market," Vumbaco said.

The Volt starts at just under $41,000 and the Leaf starts at just over $35,000. Both may be eligible for tax credits up to $7,500.

"Folks are going to be surprised about the number of (plug-in) vehicles they see on the road by Christmas," Wynne said.

Maher Chevrolet on 34th Street in St. Petersburg currently has a Volt demo and several on order, said Matthew Berry, a sales consultant at Maher. Within six weeks, the dealership hopes to have them in stock.

Environmentally conscious and tech-savvy customers have shown a lot of interest in the car, Berry said.

"A good percentage of Volt buyers are trading in Priuses or higher end sports cars like BMWs," he said.

Times Staff Writer Keyonna Summers contributed to this report. Lorri Helfand can be reached at lorri@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4155.

>>fast facts

Where to go

Want to find a charging station near you?

Visit chargepoint.net.

A ChargePoint application is also available for Blackberry, iPhone and Android smartphones.

Oldsmar becomes Tampa Bay's first city to install electric car station 09/09/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 9, 2011 6:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Editorial: A proud moment for civic involvement in Hillsborough County

    Editorials

    It took private citizens less than 24 hours to do what their elected leaders in Hillsborough County could not for the past three months: Find the moral fortitude and the money to move a century-old Confederate war memorial from outside the county courthouse. Thursday's achievement was a lesson in leadership to county …

    The Hillsborough County Commission dithered for three months over moving the Memoria in Aeterna monument from the old county courthouse.
  2. Fort Myers woman arrested for doing cocaine off iPhone in parent pick-up line

    Bizarre News

    A Fort Myers woman was arrested Tuesday after police saw her snorting cocaine off her iPhone while in the parent pick-up line at a Lee County middle school.

    Christina Hester, 39, faces two different drug-related charges, according to police records. [Lee County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Tropical Storm Harvey forms in Atlantic

    Hurricanes

    UPDATE: At 5 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane hunter plane had determined that Tropical Storm Harvey had formed with sustained winds of 40 mph.

    Three tropical waves are expected to strengthen as they move across the Atlantic Ocean. [Courtesy of the National Hurricane Center]
  4. Editorial: Pinellas should join lawsuit challenging new state law

    Editorials

    The Florida Legislature has been on a cynical, constitutionally dubious quest to render local school boards powerless. The most direct assault is a new state law that strips school boards of much of their authority when it comes to the creation and funding of charter schools. It's time for the Pinellas County School …

  5. Editorial: Fix funding unfairness in Florida foster care system

    Editorials

    Many of the children in Florida's foster care system already have been failed by their parents. The last thing these kids need is to be failed by bureaucracy, too, and yet that's exactly what appears to be happening because of a needlessly rigid funding formula set up by the Florida Legislature. Child welfare agencies …

    The Legislature may have had good intentions when it came up with the funding plan, but it’s obvious that there is some unfairness built into it. The funding may be complicated, but the goal is simple: Making sure every child in need gets the help he or she needs.