(TNS) – The electric vehicle market is booming in Florida, and Miami-Dade County is getting into the action.
On Thursday morning, the county unveiled a new electric car charging station at a county-owned garage, one of five in a new partnership with OBE Energy, which operates the second largest fleet of private charging stations in the ‘State after Tesla.
“It’s very exciting to finally see our EV market in a place where it can finally compete,” Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told a crowd gathered in the west lot garage across from the Government Center in downtown Miami.
She also announced that the county had recently purchased 42 more electric buses, bringing the total orders to 75.
“I believe we are going to be the largest electric bus fleet in the country,” she said.
Sales of electric vehicles have skyrocketed in Florida, and the people of Miami-Dade own more than any other county. State records show that as of December 2020, there were 3,907 “slow” charging stations and 844 “fast” charging stations in the state, with more to come.
Drivers stopping at the Government Center parking lot will pay 30 cents per kw / h to charge at level two or “slow” chargers, said OBE Power CEO Alejandro Burgana. The average charge takes about three hours and costs about $ 7. OBE pays the county for the electricity it uses, and Miami-Dade also gets a portion of the profits.
The city of Miami is also working with Florida Power & Light to install more charging stations in a handful of city parks and buildings.
“Over the next two or three years, a common title will be that there will be more electric vehicle charging stations than gas stations,” Burgana told the Miami Herald. “It becomes accessible.
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When it comes to adapting to climate change, there are few technologies as popular and easily adopted by the public as electric cars. Several major automakers have pledged to stop selling gasoline cars altogether over the next decade, and falling battery costs, along with federal and state subsidies, have made electric vehicles a more affordable option for many. .
They are also an important step towards the electrification of transportation in Miami-Dade, where transportation accounts for 55% of emissions, according to a 2019 report. About 40% of that total comes from gasoline cars.
Miami-Dade’s draft climate action strategy calls for replacing 30% of county residents’ vehicles with electric cars by 2030, and officials say adding charging stations could help convince newcomers drivers to change vehicle.
It also means switching from Miami-Dade’s own fleet to electric cars – a tall order for such a large county.
Of the 11,000 cars, buses and trucks the county owns and operates, less than a dozen are electric. The county’s new electric bus order would bring its total to 75, out of about 700 gasoline and natural gas buses. Only one electric bus has actually arrived since the county placed its initial order.
Miami-Dade’s new policy, which begins Friday, calls for 10% of all vehicle purchases this year to be electric. Another 10% is added to this figure each year, so 20% of electric vehicle purchases by 2022, 30% by 2023, and so on.
Sean McCrackine, the mayor’s director of policy, estimates the county will have purchased at least 80 electric vehicles by the end of the year with the new policy.
Of course, electric cars alone are not the solution to making transportation emissions-free. About half of Miami-Dade households do not have or have limited access to a car. About 10% do not have a car.
This is where public transport comes in. Experts say the best way to cut emissions and traffic, as well as air pollution, is to get more people out of cars and buses and trains.
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Miami-Dade’s climate strategy plans to transfer 10% of residents who usually travel by car alone to public transportation by 2030.
Kevin Amezaga, of the Miami Riders Alliance, said Miami-Dade has several big plans to improve public transportation, like its SMART plan and Better Bus project, but county leaders aren’t doing the necessary work.
“Getting people to use fast, reliable transit starts with building that fast, reliable transit and actually giving them the ability to use it. County plans, their priorities just don’t match that message, ”he said. “It’s really great to continue to focus on electric buses, in a world where we have tackled the problem of getting people on buses in the first place. Getting people out of cars is the best thing we can do. “
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