ORLANDO, Fla. – Using money from a settlement, Florida is adding 74 new electric car charging stations along the state’s major highways.
Gov. Ron DeSantis visited Turkey Lake Service Plaza in Orlando Friday afternoon alongside the Florida Department of Environmental Protection secretary Noah Valenstein and representatives from Tesla to make what his office called a “major announcement.”
He said the funds for the the investment come from a settlement against Volkswagen for violating the Clean Air Act.
The state was awarded $166 million as part of the settlement. From that, $8.5 million will be used to create the 74 charging stations along Interstate 75 and Intestate 95, spanning about 1,200 miles.
“While the coronavirus pandemic has caused some delay, I am pleased to be able to announce today that after developing and submitting a plan to the trustees of the settlement funds, getting that plan approved and then completing the planning and procurement process. We are now ready to award over $8.5 million in contracts to build 74 additional fast electric charging stations belongs to Florida has major highways and evacuation routes,” DeSantis said.
There are plans in the future to add additional charging stations using that same settlement money.
DeSantis said the charging stations will likely be completed within a matter of weeks.
Valenstein called the move “another step forward for the environment here in Florida.”
With the charging stations already slated to be built along the Turnpike by the Florida Department of Transportation, there will soon be about 100 charging stations statewide. Those Turnpike charging stations should be done within about 60 days.
“The result of all this work will mean electric car owners will not have to worry about where they will be able to charge their car when using our major highway and this is important, obviously for travel normally, but also critically for hurricane evacuation,” DeSantis said.
The focus initially will be on Central and South Florida, where most electric car owners live, and eventually move into the Panhandle and along Interstate 10. The governor added that electric car purchases have increased “tenfold” in the past nine years.
Part of the investment, he said, is to ensure that the stations can quickly charge vehicles.
“You know, you go in, you plug, you go to like a gas station or something inside the service store, get a drink, you come out, and the thing can be charged in a relatively short amount of time,” DeSantis said. “Some of the longer charging stations would take sometimes 30 minutes or more.”
As far as the rest of the settlement money goes, DeSantis said it will largely be used on “electric or alternative fuel school and transit buses and the replacement of other high emission vehicles.”