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FPL Opens 3 Area Charging Stations As Automakers Ramp Up EV Production

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FPL
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The Gate Petroleum station on International golf Parkway now includes FPL charging ports for electric vehicles.

Automakers like Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Mini, Porsche, VW and others are now selling fully-electric vehicles with a lot more in the pipeline. That has Florida Power & Light (FPL) seizing upon an opportunity: keeping all those shiny new cars charged.

FPL announced Tuesday it has opened three new fast-charging stations in Northeast Florida:

  • Gate Petroleum at 3011 International Golf Parkway in St. Augustine (four ports)
  • Wildlight community at 53 Daydream Avenue in Yulee (six ports)
  • Lake City Park and Ride at 3221 W. US Highway 90 near I-10 (six ports)

The new stations are part of FPL’s Evolution program. The utility is installing over 1,000 charging ports at more than 100 locations across Florida, including major roadways, large employers and tourism destinations. 

The three new stations have CCS and CHAdeMO Level 3 charging ports, which are the charging platforms that most EVs use. Teslas use a proprietary platform but can still charge at the stations by using an adapter.

A check of FPL’s Evolution app shows the stations are currently charging customers 30 cents per kilowatt hour. EV power use is measured in kilowatts, similar to how gallons are used to figure out the range and pricing for gasoline.

FPL’s app shows the Wildlight location has a maximum charging speed of 350khw. At that speed, as an example, a Porsche Taycan can charge to 80% capacity in under 23 minutes, according to Porsche.

Automakers are rushing to build more electric vehicles as emissions standards tighten around the world.

Even the Ford F-150, the best-selling vehicle in the United States, will include a fully electric version in the coming years and General Motors will start selling a Hummer EV pickup truck by the end of this year, quickly followed by the new Cadillac Lyriq electric SUV. The new Chevrolet Bolt EUV (crossover) and a refreshed Bolt (hatchback) were also unveiled this month.

A barrage of start-up companies are also promising new EVs in the near future; including Lordstown Motors, Lucid Motors, which has opened a showroom in Miami, and Rivian. The EV industry leader, Tesla, is also rolling out refreshed models, and plans to expand its line-up with a semi, next-generation Roadster EV sports car and Cybertruck pickup.

Susan Glickman, the Florida Director of cleanenergy.org, says the transition to EVs is good news.

“You know, a lot of the companies like Volvo and General Motors have just announced they’re only going to put out electric cars,” Glickman said Wednesday on WJCT's First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross, adding, “it's a really nice driving experience not having to go to a gas station,” pointing out that many EV owners charge their cars at home.

You can hear the full interview with Glickman on Wednesday’s First Coast News with Melissa Ross, which encores at 8 p.m. on WJCT News 89.9.

3/5/2021 Story Update: After this story was published, a reader said on Facebook that some FPL stations were not working properly with Harley-Davidson LiveWires and Energica electric motorcycles. 

WJCT News reached out to FPL about the reader's statements. FPL said its team has reached out to the motorcyclist to resolve the issues and issued the following statement:

Since the inception of the FPL EVolution pilot program in 2019, FPL has installed hundreds of Level 2 and DCFC charge ports with widespread success across the state. Our charging station manufacturing partners are major players in the energy industry, and they do extensive testing in the United States. Robust testing is done in a lab environment, with auto manufacturers sending EV models to ensure compatibility, while other testing is real world in the field to ensure compatibility, connectivity, and grid resiliency. We proactively work with our manufacturers to resolve issues before they arise, and our team of experts can bring any issues that do come up to a quick resolution. In addition to testing, we continuously perform maintenance on the charge points and are regularly upgrading firmware.
FPL is committed to continuously improving the customer experience so we can provide the most reliable and convenient EV charging available to the market. We appreciate feedback from drivers, and in many instances, we reach out directly to our customers to address their unique situation. This direct communication allows us to make updates to our equipment and conduct additional testing for specific vehicle models.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.