Orange County is helping transform Central Florida into an electric transportation leader

A little more than ten years ago, the government-private sector coalition called Get Ready Central Florida went from electric transportation novices to a national leader. This team was spearheaded by Orange County Government, the City of Orlando, Duke Energy and the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC). Today, local and statewide coalitions are accelerating the advancement of electric vehicle (EV) initiatives in order to become a more sustainable region.

In 2010, Orlando was one of the cities selected nationally to receive a portion of Charge Point America’s $37 million grant to expand the charging infrastructure needed to support the new road-ready EVs entering the market.

Orange County was significant in receiving part of that $37 million grant and, that same year, officially joined Project Get Ready, a non-profit initiative led by the Rocky Mountain Institute that planned to provide assistance to communities so they can become pioneers in the inclusion of electric vehicles in their transportation system.

Level 2 (240 v) public charging stations began popping up at restaurants, hotels, shopping malls, parks, theaters and public buildings within a 70-mile radius of downtown Orlando. By the end of 2010, 300 charging stations had been installed.

Ten years later, well into the 2020s, the electric vehicle takes another giant leap forward. OUC, Orange County, the City of Orlando and Power Electronics are collaborating to create Florida’s largest high-speed charging facility. The Robinson Recharge Mobility Hub, set to open sometime in 2022, will place up to 22 Level 3 (DC) electric vehicle charging stations near I-4. 

Once completed, this new hub will allow electric vehicles to “recharge” their battery in approximately 10 minutes and be fully charged in 20-60 minutes. Orange County has been ranked second by the League of Women Voters EV Report Card for 2020 and named among the top 10 most EV-ready cities in the country. 

“As more and more people purchase electric and hybrid vehicles, the County wants to have the infrastructure in place to service them”, said John Parker, Environmental Specialist, Environmental Protection Division, Air Quality Management Section, who also added that “most people charge at home, but the idea of these high-speed charging stations is that they act as fueling stations for those traveling longer distances”.

Orange County aims to increase its electric vehicle fleet to more than 500 and owns three Chevy Bolts: the Environmental Protection Division has two 2021 models and Fleet Management has a 2020 model. The County’s Sustainable Operations and Resiliency Action Plan outlines the fleet transition and 16 other goals. The County also has more than 450 Level 2 charging stations and 49 Level 3 charging stations. Public charging rates vary based on location, time of use, duration of use and power level. You can find available charging stations and calculate rates by accessing PlugShare and ChargePoint, the electric vehicle charging networks used at most stations in this region.

Why is it important to increase the number of electric vehicles?

According to Enel, a company involved in the energy sector, electric mobility uses one or more electric motors to generate transportation. Currently, this type of mobility can be used as an efficient form of transportation, offering solutions for small trips and low weight (with bicycles, scooters and electric motorcycles) as well as for long trips and high weight (with electric public transport vehicles).

One of the main advantages of electric mobility is that it improves people’s quality of life by not emitting toxic gases. In addition, by not having combustion engines, electric vehicles avoid the emission of tons of greenhouse gases, which in turn contributes to the fight against the effects of climate change.

It is therefore considered essential to achieve sustainable mobility and is gaining increasing support worldwide through public policies related to the electrification of urban public transport, changes in fiscal policies, the creation of regulatory frameworks to regulate it and even its integration into planned urban infrastructures.

It should be borne in mind that this technology is constantly evolving, making electric mobility increasingly efficient and creating new uses for it: electric trucks, airplanes and boats that are in the experimental phase would mark the beginning of the electrification of all mobility.

In short, electric mobility is here to stay and will mark the future of transportation. A more efficient, environmentally friendly and sustainable transport.

The incorporation of new renewable energy technology proposals, such as electric mobility, is valuable not only for the environment but also for the community, such as the work we do at eSmart Recycling recycling computers and giving them greater value by donating them to families with little access to technology.

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