TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—A new proposal would require Florida to come up with a master plan to install electric vehicle (EV) charging stations along its highways, WUFS-FM reports. State Sen. Tom Lee (R-Thonotosassa) sponsored an essential state infrastructure bill that would require the state to develop a strategy for increasing the number of EV charging stations.
The bill would authorize the Florida Department of Transportation “to plan, design and construct staging areas as part of the turnpike system for the intended purpose of staging supplies for prompt provision of assistance to the public in a declared state of emergency; requiring the department to coordinate, develop and recommend a master plan for the development of electric vehicle charging station infrastructure along the State Highway System; providing construction relating to the rights of an owner of land that has been traditionally used for agriculture and is subject to a conservation easement, etc.”
Currently, Florida has more than 4,000 EV charging stations, but those locations are all over the state, creating gaps in coverage for EV drivers, according to Stan Cross with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “The goal in the marketplace is to get the EV charging experience more and more similar to sort of the 5-10 minutes you would spend at a gas station to fill up your car,” Cross said.
The agency would have until July 1, 2021, to present its plan. Finding funds for constructing charging stations might be challenging, as state revenue continues to drop because of COVID-19. Germany recently stated it would require gas stations to have EV chargers.
NACS believes private-sector investment by businesses currently serving the motoring public is the best way to increase EV charging stations throughout the United States.
Permitting the government to offer electric vehicle charging at rest areas directly on the interstate right-of-way in competition with the private sector would discourage the private sector from investing in EV charging infrastructure and ultimately hinder growth in these alternative fuels. It could also prompt further relaxation of the longstanding ban on commercializing interstate rest areas, which would devastate blind-owned businesses that operate rest area vending machines, as well as the off-highway communities that rely on interstate traffic for a substantial portion of their tax collections.