The Growth of EV Charging Stations Across Florida

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 The Growth of EV Charging Stations Across Florida

Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly popular in Florida, with more people adopting EVs as an eco-friendly and cost-effective transportation option. As EV adoption rises, the need for convenient charging infrastructure also increases. This article provides an overview of the current state of electric vehicle charging stations across Florida – how many there are, where they’re located, the types of chargers available, installation and charging costs, major charging networks, expansion plans, and challenges.

Florida is an ideal state for EVs thanks to the warm climate and lack of extreme elevation changes. Sales of EVs like the Tesla Model 3, Nissan Leaf, and Chevy Bolt have climbed steadily in recent years. However, range anxiety remains a top concern for potential EV buyers. Having ample public charging stations is key to alleviating these concerns and enabling long distance EV travel across the state. This article examines the progress Florida has made on EV charging infrastructure and what still needs to be done to meet the needs of current and future EV drivers.

Current Number of EV Charging Stations

Florida currently has over 2,000 public electric vehicle (EV) charging stations statewide according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The stations are concentrated mainly in major metropolitan areas.

Miami has the most EV charging stations of any Florida city with over 300 locations. Orlando comes in second with around 275 stations. Other major cities like Tampa, Jacksonville, and Fort Lauderdale each have over 100 charging stations.

Outside of major cities, EV charging stations can still be found at select shopping centers, hotels, restaurants, parks, and other public locations across the state. However, long distance travel between cities in an EV remains challenging in Florida due to the sparse distribution of charging stations in rural areas.

Locations of EV Charging Stations

Electric vehicle (EV) charging stations can be found at many convenient locations across Florida. Popular spots include shopping centers, grocery stores, malls, parking garages, hotels, restaurants, parks, beaches, airports, and more.

Many retailers are installing charging stations to attract EV drivers and encourage them to spend more time shopping. Grocery stores like Publix and Whole Foods now have charging stations so customers can plug in while buying groceries. Malls like Dolphin Mall in Miami and Altamonte Mall in Orlando have charging stations in their parking garages.

Hotels and resorts are adding charging stations for their guests driving EVs. Major hotel chains like Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt all offer charging at select locations in Florida. Popular tourist destinations like Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and major beaches have installed charging stations to serve vacationers.

Airports are expanding charging options as more travelers own EVs. Tampa, Orlando, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale airports all have charging stations in their parking garages and lots. Some even have fast charging stations for a quick top-up before catching a flight.

Many city parking garages, lots, and street parking now include charging stations as well. Drivers can often find charging in downtown areas. Parks, beaches, marinas, and other recreational locations are also adding charging so EV drivers can plug in.

Types of EV Charging Stations

There are three main types of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to be aware of:

Level 1

Level 1 charging stations provide charging through a standard 120V AC plug. It provides around 2 to 5 miles of range per hour of charging time. This is the slowest charging option but requires no additional hardware, as the EV’s onboard charger can handle Level 1 charging. Level 1 works well for overnight charging at home.

Level 2

Level 2 charging stations operate on 208 to 240V AC power and require installation of additional charging equipment. Level 2 stations provide 10 to 20 miles of range per hour of charging time, making them better suited for daily charging. Most public EV charging stations are Level 2.

DC Fast Charging

DC fast charging stations provide the fastest charging option by converting AC power to DC power. This allows DC fast charging stations to provide 60 to 100+ miles of range per hour of charging time. However, fast charging can impact battery life if used too frequently. DC fast charging stations require high-power commercial electrical connections.

Cost to Install EV Charging Stations

Installing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations requires purchasing the charging equipment, hiring an electrician to install it, and ongoing maintenance costs. The total costs can vary significantly based on the type of charger and installation specifics.

Equipment Costs

EV charging stations range from $300 for a basic Level 1 charger up to $6,500 for a high-powered DC fast charging station. Level 2 chargers typically cost $400-$650 for a wall-mounted unit. More robust pedestal chargers cost $1,500-$2,500.

Installation Costs

Installation costs also vary widely. A basic Level 1 charger can be plugged into a standard wall outlet without any electrician installation needed. Level 2 and DC fast chargers require hiring an electrician to install a dedicated circuit and electrical panel upgrades. Level 2 installation ranges from $600-$12,000 depending on site conditions. DC fast chargers cost $4,000-$51,000 for installation.

Maintenance Costs

After installation, EV charging stations have minimal maintenance costs. The main expense is the electricity cost to operate the charger. Also factor in potential repair costs for any equipment failures over time. Networked chargers also require data plans for internet connectivity that enable remote management, payment processing, and usage tracking.

Cost to Charge EVs

Charging an electric vehicle at home is significantly cheaper than fueling a gas-powered car. The average cost to charge an EV in Florida is around $0.12 to $0.15 per kWh. With most EVs averaging 25-35 kWh per 100 miles, this equates to around $3 to $5 to fully charge a typical EV battery.

Public charging stations have varying costs depending on the charging network and membership fees. Charging network fees range from free to $4 for a session. The cost per kWh at public stations is comparable to home charging, around $0.30 to $0.35 per kWh. With membership fees, public charging costs approximately $0.40 to $0.50 per kWh.

Some factors that affect public charging costs include:

  • Charging speed – Faster chargers often cost more per kWh.
  • Membership fees – Networks like ChargePoint charge a fee per charging session for non-members.
  • Idle fees – Most networks charge higher rates if the car remains plugged in after charging completes.
  • Location – Stations at premium sites like malls or airports are typically more expensive.

Overall, charging an EV in Florida costs about half as much as fueling a comparable gas car. Careful selection of public charging networks and membership plans can further reduce charging costs for drivers.

Major EV Charging Networks

The major electric vehicle charging networks in Florida include Tesla, ChargePoint, EVgo, Electrify America, Volta, Blink, and SemaConnect.

Tesla operates over 50 Supercharger stations in Florida, which only charge Tesla vehicles. The Superchargers can add up to 200 miles of range in 15 minutes.

ChargePoint has over 2,000 public charging spots in Florida, making it the state’s largest public charging network. ChargePoint offers Level 2 AC and DC fast charging for all EVs.

EVgo has around 200 fast charging locations in Florida, providing 50kW to 350kW DC fast charging. EVgo stations work with all EV models and are found at retail, grocery and convenience stores.

Electrify America is rapidly expanding in Florida with over 120 ultra-fast charging stations planned by the end of 2022. Stations will have 150kW to 350kW chargers compatible with all EVs.

Volta offers free Level 2 charging stations in high-traffic areas like shopping centers and entertainment venues. Volta has over 50 stations in Florida.

Blink operates around 60 Level 2 and DC fast charging stations in Florida. Blink’s app allows drivers to locate, charge and pay at stations.

SemaConnect focuses on Level 2 EV charging for commercial and residential locations. They have over 1,500 stations installed in Florida.

Future Expansion Plans

Florida is expected to see rapid growth in its EV charging infrastructure over the next few years thanks to major investments by both the public and private sectors.

The state government has allocated $8.6 million to install fast charging stations along major highways to enable long distance EV travel across Florida. An additional $25 million in funding will support installing chargers in underserved areas to increase accessibility.

The Biden administration’s infrastructure bill is also directing $7.5 billion nationwide to build out a network of 500,000 EV chargers across the country. Florida is estimated to receive $198 million over 5 years to expand EV infrastructure.

Major charging networks like ChargePoint, EVgo, and Electrify America have announced plans to double or triple the number of charging stations in Florida over the next 3-5 years. They are focusing expansion in metro regions as well as along highways and popular tourism destinations.

Tesla continues to grow its proprietary Supercharger network, targeting high-traffic corridors between major cities. They aim to increase convenience and accessibility for Tesla drivers undertaking longer journeys.

Overall, industry experts forecast there will be over 6,000 public charging locations with over 30,000 connectors in Florida by 2025. This rapid growth will be enabled by policy support and private investments to meet rising EV adoption.

Challenges & Solutions

The growth of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in Florida faces several key challenges.

Load Management

As more EVs hit the road, utilities will need to manage increased electricity demand on the grid, especially during peak charging times. Smart charging solutions that charge EVs when demand is lower can help smooth load profiles. Utilities may also need to upgrade grid infrastructure in areas seeing high concentrations of EVs.

Real Estate

Finding suitable real estate for charging stations can be difficult, especially in dense urban areas. Parking garages, retail locations, and highway rest stops are prime targets. Land use policies that encourage EV charging may help. Rooftop solar can also offset charging loads.

Permitting & Regulations

Streamlining permitting and inspections for charging stations at the local level helps accelerate buildout. State regulations will need to keep pace as the technology evolves. Policies should aim to expand equitable access to charging.

Upfront Costs

Installing charging stations requires significant upfront investment. Public funding and private partnerships can help offset costs. As technology improves and EVs scale up, costs should come down over time.

Future-Proofing

With rapid ongoing advances in charging technology, installing future-proof stations is important to avoid stranded assets. Stations should support open standards and be upgradeable.

Consumer Education

Lack of familiarity with EV charging represents a barrier to adoption for some drivers. Educational campaigns on charging basics, etiquette, and locations can help boost utilization of stations.

Conclusion

The number of electric vehicle charging stations in Florida has grown rapidly in recent years to support the state’s adoption of EVs. Currently there are over 2,500 public charging stations located across the state, with the densest networks in major metropolitan areas like Miami, Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville.

DC fast chargers capable of fully recharging an EV in under an hour are becoming more prevalent, especially along major highways. Slower Level 2 chargers are most common in cities, shopping centers, hotels, and workplaces. Installation costs range from $300-$100,000 depending on the charger type, power level, and infrastructure requirements.

Usage fees to charge EVs on public networks typically run 25-50 cents per kWh. Costs to install home chargers range from $200-$2000 for most setups.

Looking ahead, Florida aims to grow its charging infrastructure in step with EV adoption. Major charging networks like Electrify America, EVgo, ChargePoint and Tesla continue to expand their stations each year. With its sunny climate and millions of drivers, Florida is poised to remain one of the leading states for EVs and charging accessibility. The future is bright for emission-free transportation thanks to the state’s robust EV infrastructure.

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