Tampa Bay, Plug-In Your Electric Cars
Photo by Dennis Eckel
Clearwater City Manager Bill Horne introduced Avera Wynne, AICP at a recent Wednesday noon meeting of the Rotary Club of Clearwater, at the Belleair Country Club, to speak on the subject of encouraging the use of Electric Cars in Tampa Bay. Wynne is the Planning Director of Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council (TBRPC), which sponsors a collaboration of local governments, electric utilities, and private business, along with other interested groups, in an initiative named Get Ready Tampa Bay.
Electric cars are expected to be heavily promoted in the next few years and the group plans to encourage Tampa Bay to be "Plug-in-Ready," so that car manufacturers will want to launch promotions in this area. Electric cars require locations to recharge the car batteries. The Council would like to see plug-in locations established near shopping centers, restaurants, areas where car drivers can comfortably take a 30-minute break while the battery charges. Full recharges can require 4 to 8 hours, but in 20 minutes a car can be charged to 80 percent capacity, while the driver is having a cup of coffee.
Wynne stated that electric cars are currently best for local commuting. Cars that are 100% electric may be limited to about 100 miles, before requiring a recharge. It is predicted that electric cars will result in 60% less pollution, they do not drain the battery while stalled in traffic and they are quiet. Pedestrians prefer a little noise when a car comes up behind them, but bicyclists prefer the lack of exhaust when they are trailing cars in traffic. Electric cars cost more and there is an expense in establishing a home charging location. The plus side is the expectation that electric cars will reduce dependency on petroleum products. Batteries are improving in quality, are less toxic and are gradually allowing longer drive times.
Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council may be contacted in Pinellas Park at (727) 570-5151.
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