The Florida Public Service Commission gave the go-ahead to Tampa Electric Company (TECO) for an electric vehicle pilot program.
Through this initiative, called Drive Smart, Tampa Electric is projected to provide roughly 200 EV charging ports in the Tampa Bay area by the end of 2021.
“Electric vehicle use in Florida is on the rise, and approval of these additional charging stations will help Florida keep pace with this growing industry,” PSC Commissioner Andrew Giles Fay said. “As more electric vehicle options become available, TECO’s pilot program will boost customer confidence by offering EV owners much-needed accessibility to higher-voltage chargers at the workplace and other public venues.”
TECO will own and install charging stations at commercial/industrial customer locations such as workplaces, retail businesses, as well as multi-family, low-income, and government buildings. It will also maintain them. The total cost is capped at $2 million – with operation and maintenance costs limited to $100,000 annually. TECO must file annual reports as a condition of the approval.
“The pilot program offers an opportunity for business customers to install an EV charger for their customers and employees at little or no installation cost,” Kenneth Hernandez, business development manager for Tampa Electric, said. The intent of the pilot program is to learn firsthand how EV drivers charge their vehicles while also helping to increase customer confidence in the availability of public charging locations. As the adoption of EVs continues to grow, it will be vitally important that charging infrastructure is available to meet growing demand, which also requires proper utility planning.”
The Edison Electric Institute estimates that there will be nearly 19 million EVs on the road within the next decade.
“EVs play an important role to help communities reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and Tampa Electric wants to do its part to help,” Hernandez said. “Driving an electric vehicle can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 50 percent compared to a gasoline vehicle. Further emission reductions can be expected as Tampa Electric continues to invest in solar and other clean technology.”
Business customers who would like to host an EV charging station can learn more at tampaelectric.com/ev. Tampa Electric will contribute up to $5,000 toward equipment and installation costs of each charge port, with the business bearing any additional costs. For EV chargers installed to serve income-qualified areas and government entities, Tampa Electric expects to cover the full cost of equipment and installation. Tampa Electric will own and maintain the chargers throughout the four-year pilot program. In exchange, each participant will agree to provide access to charging data.
Tampa Electric serves about 800,000 customers in West Central Florida.