Winter Park Gears Up for Electric Vehicles

Editor's Note: Articles written by citizens reflect their own opinions and not the views of the Winter Park Voice.  

Winter Park Gears Up for Electric Vehicles

Guest Columnist Sheila DeCiccio

The City of Winter Park looks toward the future of transportation as discussion revs up at the April 23 Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Board regarding a proposed Electric Vehicle (EV) ordinance. The purpose of the ordinance is to bring forth regulations for EV charging, infrastructure and ways to handle development projects that were already in process prior to the EV ordinance.

FL Ranks in Top 5 for EV Sales

Florida ranks within the top five states for sales of electric and hybrid vehicles. In fact, a majority of buyers for electric and hybrid vehicles are located right here in Central Florida. By the year 2030, estimated annual national sales of EV’s will exceed 3.5 million vehicles, accounting for more than 20 percent of vehicle sales in the U.S.

Vehicles Running on Gas are 2nd Greatest Cause of Carbon Emissions
Currently, vehicles that burn fossil fuel – gasoline – are the second greatest cause of carbon emissions. Their replacement by electric cars will result in a reduction in the city’s carbon emissions, quieter and more livable streets and improved air quality.

WP Already Has 6 Charging Stations

Since 2011, Winter Park has installed six electric charging stations. Each charging station can charge two cars, one on either side. Stations are available to everyone, free of charge.

Electric Utility Companies Face Greater Demand for Power
For the sake of our state’s economy, infrastructure, and air quality, Central Florida must not only prepare for electric cars, but must be a leader in setting the stage for parking lots full of EVs. Utility companies, for example, will have to prepare for the increased demand for power as consumers charge their car batteries at home, at work or while shopping. Florida Power has already begun by increasing their capacity with solar panels, but there is more work to be done.

WP Ordinance Will Affect New Construction

The proposed Winter Park ordinance will require builders and developers to provide at least two electric charging stations in commercial parking lots that have more than 50 spaces. The ordinance also requires new residential and multifamily homes to include wiring built into the garage or common-use parking lot.

Incentives Are a Possibility

There may be incentives to help with the cost of wiring, such as a rebate from the utility company. An exact amount has not been determined but is under consideration. Some counties and cities provide rebates as high as $500.

WP Maintains Vision of Healthy, Sustainable Future

The above are just a few of the opening ideas which will go through much discussion. The good news is that the process has begun, and that Winter Park is staying consistent with its vision of promoting a healthy and sustainable future for all generations.

Sheila DeCiccio is an attorney with DeCiccio & Johnson. She has served on the Planning & Zoning Board for the past six years. She and her husband have been Winter Park residents since 1982. Their two children were born here and are being raised here.

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    By: Anne Mooney

    Anne Mooney has assumed the editorship of the Winter Park Voice from founding editor Tom Childers.

    Mooney got her start in New York as a freelance line editor for book publishers, among them Simon & Schuster and the Clarkson Potter division of Crown Books. From New York, she and her husband and their year-old toddler moved to Washington, D.C., where the two ran a newswire service for Harper’s magazine. “We called it Network News,” said Mooney, “because it was a network of the Harper’s writers, whose work we edited into newspaper style and format and sold to papers in the top U.S. and Canadian markets. We were sort of like a tiny UPI.”

    The newswire ceased operation with the death of Mooney’s first husband, but Mooney continued to write and edit, doing freelance work for Williams Sonoma cookbooks and for local publications in D.C.

    In 2005, Mooney moved to Winter Park, where she worked as a personal chef and wrote a regular food column for a south Florida magazine. She took an active interest in Winter Park politics and was there when the Winter Park Voice was founded. She wrote occasional pieces for the Voice, including the Childers bio that this piece replaces.

    The Winter Park Voice is one of a large number of “hyper-local” publications that have sprung up across the U.S. in response to the decline of the major daily newspapers and the resulting deficit of local news coverage. The Voice’sbeat is Winter Park City Hall, and its purpose is to help the residents of our city better understand the political forces that shape our daily lives.

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12 replies
  1. Turn the Page says:

    How will this reduce traffic congestion on Winter Park streets?

    Did any of these people get the memo telling them that traffic congestion is Winter Park’s major problem?

    People buy electric cars so they will always get a parking space close to wherever they are going. Doesn’t matter if their car is already fully charged up. They just park in the electric spot and pretend they are charging it, and laugh while everyone else circles the block a few times before they find a parking space for their gas car.

    If you notice, the electric spaces are always either empty or occupied by someone pretending to charge their car.

    Reply
  2. John Skolfield says:

    Sheila,

    It’s great to see you taking this lead. I purchased a 2 year old Nissan Leaf a couple years ago and will never look back. Putting $40 of gas in my wife’s cars may lack the visceral pain of lighting two $20’s on fire but is the same result. The leaf is fun, quick, and inexpensive.

    Reply
  3. Randy Vance says:

    Car makers will have dozens of EV’s to offer in the next two years. I think the real benefit in carbon reductions on EV’s is dubious at best, shipping the pollution to different resources and different countries where the dirty battery equipment is mined. Adding to the burden, vehicle makers say the batteries, which are not recyclable, have a life of about 100,000 miles. They cost about $5000 to replace meaning a car that cost 30k and is worthless and become disposable when that day comes because their value is not high enough to warrant new batteries.

    Who will pay for the electricity of these public power stations?

    Reply
  4. ellie warner says:

    This is great as long as taxpayers are taken off the hook for the “free” charging stations and tax payer funded subsidies. Are these technologies sustainable on their own? No. When they are, THEN they will be ‘sustainable’ in a meaningful way for taxpayers. Please leave us out of the virtue signalling experiments.

    Reply
  5. Bill Deuchler says:

    Thanks Sheila for passing along this information via The Voice.

    I’m sympathetic to the general idea of building out more infrastructure to support electric vehicles. It is a definite reality that there will be more on the road and there should be accommodations to “fuel” these vehicles. However, I’m more sanguine regarding projections for the growth of EVs. This article is a good assessment of the current state, and interestingly growth is projected to slow in 2019.
    https://cleantechnica.com/2019/01/20/forecast-2019-us-ev-sales-growth-will-drop-to-12/

    The bigger question to ponder is who is or should be responsible for charging infrastructure? Should this be a government mandate or should we rely on market forces? I think that many take it for granted that we should mandate charging stations, but I think it bears some thought. EVs are and will be for some time a significant minority of vehicles. So would mandates essentially be fostering conveniences for a minority of vehicles? Tesla clearly understood that without a network of charging stations, it wasn’t going to sell cars. That was a very appropriate market response to a future need.

    We need to think critically regarding infrastructure investments and be good stewards of the public resources we have. I’m not saying no, just that we should think hard about these questions.

    Reply
  6. Realist says:

    Anybody want to take a guess how much of our power comes from coal? Big ships filled with South American coal use fossil fuel to transport it here to Florida to be burned up into “clean” electricity.

    Bet none of the green people want you to know that dirty little FACT.

    Reply
  7. The Art of Parking in WP says:

    Will there be electric car parking spaces at the new MLK Park art museum being constructed with library bond money?

    Reply
  8. Let's Think About This says:

    People charge their electric cars at home – over night

    So the only people who will use these charging stations are:

    1) People who forgot to charge their car at home over night, and
    2) People who drive their car more during the day than an overnight charge will cover

    Ergo, these charging stations subsidize:

    1) Absentmindedness, and
    2) More traffic congestion

    Is that what we really want?

    Reply
  9. Electric Car "Gas" Station says:

    Electric cars are fine for people who can get by on the number of miles their car will run after they charge it up at home for the day.

    If they can’t, they really should get a gas motored car or hybrid instead.

    Rather than requiring property owners to install electric car spots, why not simply allow electric car “gas” stations in the zoning code?

    Anyone could install one or more electric car “gas pumps” and electric car owners would then pay the owner for the charge, and they could Uber (or walk if close enough) where they are going until it is charged up.

    That makes a whole lot more sense than saying OK you have 50 parking spaces, you have to make 2 electric car spaces. What if nobody drives electric cars to that building? Then you effectively have reduced the parking code for that building from 50 spaces to 48 spaces.

    Why would you want to do that?

    Reply
  10. Jim Fitch says:

    Let’s Talk About Money…

    Electric Vehicles (EVs) cost about $8 of electricity to fully charge. If an EV owner charges at home. Fine, they are paying for it. If they charge at a ‘Free’ station, we, the taxpayers, are paying for it. I don’t get any money for my gasoline. Why should EV owners ride FREE on my nickel?

    EV charging stations should have a Credit Card slot to pay for their electricity…

    Reply
  11. Pat Estes says:

    I am writing to express my opposition to having FREE charging stations for electric vehicles, as discussed in this Winter Park Voice article. Why should WP tax payers who choose not to have EVs be saddled with paying for fuel (electric) for those who want to have EVs? Even if the charging stations are solar powered, there is a cost for the infrastructure.
    Another pertinent point about ‘fueling’ EVs is that owners should pay a tax comparable to the tax charged for gasoline – which goes to the state for road building and maintenance. This assumes EVs actually drive on the roads and don’t just hover above them.

    Respectfully submitted,
    Pat Estes

    Reply

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