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City of Orlando, OUC Open 300th Public Electric Vehicle Charging Station



Mayor Buddy Dyer holds a press conference in front of the EVs to be charged at the new charging station. Photo: Juan Carlo Rodriguez/Florida National News.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer joined District 5 Commissioner Regina Hill and board members of the Orlando Utility Company (OUC) to open the first of a hundred new public electric vehicle stations in the city, bringing the total to 300 throughout the city.

“We are making the community ready for the rapid transition to electrical vehicles,” Dyer said during the ceremony held at the John H. Jackson Neighborhood Center in Paramore. “If you look at most of the objective standards, you will see that Orlando and Central Florida is number one in the Southeast in terms of EV readiness.”

Commissioner Hill stated that, while EVs are many times considered something exclusive for wealthier citizens, “the reality is that EVs and used EVs are becoming more affordable.” She quoted a study from the American Automotive Association that shows that electricity required to drive 15,000 miles in a compact EV costs $546, while the amount of gas required for the same distance is $1,255.

“That’s a 130% increase in cost. In addition, EVs do not require as much maintenance, because they do not require an oil change. If maintained according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, EVs cost $330 less annually,” she added. “Here in Paramore, those are real dollars. When we start talking about average income, for some [it’s] $17,000 a year.”

Hill explained that automakers are making the jump to EVs “full in.” “General Motors, Volkswagen, will be fully electric by 2035. We are a city that’s looking at the future right now. Almost 10 billion will be EVs in the next ten years. As technology becomes more affordable, we project to have low-cost EVs by 2025.”

Commissioner Hill also stated that EVs are a “tremendous job opportunity in the green economy,” and she has formed a team along with Mayor Dyer and the director of Green Works Orlando, Chris Castro, in job training and vocational training. Castro is now seeking partnership in the solar industry in this matter.

The event happened a day after President Joe Biden presented the $2 trillion infrastructure plan, which includes $174 billion to switch to EVs. “President Biden has called for 500,000 charging stations and for conversion of the federal fleet vehicles to EVs by 2030,” Hill noted.

OUC president Britta Gross expanded on Commissioner Hill’s comment, adding that the federal fleet transformation of 645,000 vehicles to electric includes those of the US Postal Service, which total 200,000 vehicles. Plus, rideshare companies Uber and Lyft have pledged to become 100% electric by 2030, and the states of California and Massachusetts aim to have 100% EV sales by 2035. That joins other commitments by companies like Amazon, UPs, Fedex, and others to go electrical in their fleets.

“That is a huge investment and commitment,” Gross said. “That means, we’re not just talking about electrifying the light-duty vehicles that you and I drive every day, but also talking about medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that bring products from stores to our doors, especially this year.”

“I expect EVs to expand as the technology continues to advance and prices come down. In the past decade, batteries have already decreased by 83% in price. And that’s just the beginning as battery makers and automakers aim to eliminate cobalt, nickel, lithium, and other costly materials from those batteries. Because of that, I expect cost parity between EVs and gas vehicles within the next five years, meaning that EVs will not only be less expensive to operate but will also be as cost-effective as gas vehicles to buy or lease”, she said.

Clint Bullock, OUC general manager and CEO, highlighted that “it’s not just about the electric vehicle transformation, it’s about net-zero emissions. OUC has a net-zero plan by 2050, with a plan to reduce it by 50% by 2030 and 75% by 2040…We’ve invested $45 million between now and 2030 in electric infrastructure, and we have been granted by Orange County to have 20 fast-charging stations by the end of the year, right next to I-4.”


Juan Carlo Rodriguez is a politics and entertainment reporter for Florida National News. |

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Monster Jam World Finals® Returns to Orlando This Weekend, Celebrates Monster Jam’s 30th Anniversary



Monster Jam World Finals is premiering a first-ever figure-eight over-under track that allows trucks to simultaneously jump over each other while racing. Image: Feld Entertainment.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The prestigious Monster Jam World Finals® returns to Orlando May 21 and 22, 2022. This two-day championship is the biggest event of the season and showcases the best trucks and drivers in Racing, Freestyle, High Jump and Skills competitions. This year’s World Finals XXI celebrates Monster Jam’s 30th Anniversary and Grave Digger’s 40th Anniversary. It offers the largest Pit Party of the year, where fans can meet the drivers, see the trucks up close and enjoy many other family-friendly activities–all included in the ticket price. Fans can purchase tickets for both days through

Fans get to watch jaw-dropping stunts from the drivers’ 1,500 horsepower, 12-feet tall, 12,000-pound monster trucks, including 12-time world champion Tom Meents, driver of the Max-D truck. World record holder Bari Musawwir, driver of the Zombie truck, also returns to compete in the Skills Competition.

In just in 7.5 days, Camping World Stadium’s gridiron field transformed into the World Finals dirt track with 7,500 yards and 22.5 million pounds of dirt. This year’s track includes a first-ever figure-eight over-under track that allows trucks to simultaneously jump over each other while racing. Fans not only get to enjoy over-the-top stunts, and thrilling fireworks, but they’ll be the very ones choosing the winner.


Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. |

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Representative Duran’s HB 91 Passes in Tourism, Infrastructure, and Energy Subcommittee



State Representative Nicholas X. Duran. Photo via Florida Politics.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Source: Florida House of Representatives // Earlier today, HB 91 passed with unanimous bipartisan support in the Tourism, Infrastructure, and Energy Subcommittee. HB 91 provides DHSMV authority relating to the display & use of digital license plates and specifies requirements for digital license plates, digital license plate providers, & digital license plate consumers.

“Bringing digital license plates to Florida helps to pave the way into a more connected future. Florida has always been on the cutting-edge of technology and allowing the use of this technology can bring large-scale efficiency and savings to the over 17 million registered vehicles in our state. I am happy this bill was able to make it out of committee and is on its way to becoming law,” said Representative Nicholas X. Duran (D- Miami).

Having passed favorably, the bill has been referred to the Commerce Committee.

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Tesla on Part-Automated Drive System Slams into Police Car



FILE - This Feb. 9, 2019, file photo shows a sign bearing the company logo outside a Tesla store in Cherry Creek Mall in Denver. A Tesla using its partially automated driving system slammed into a Florida Highway Patrol cruiser Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021 on an interstate near downtown Orlando and narrowly missed its driver, who had pulled over to assist a disabled vehicle. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

ORLANDO, Florida (AP) — A Tesla using its partially automated driving system slammed into a Florida Highway Patrol cruiser Saturday on an interstate near downtown Orlando and narrowly missed its driver, who had pulled over to assist a disabled vehicle.

Earlier this month, the U.S. government opened a formal investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot driving system after a series of similar collisions with parked emergency vehicles.

The trooper whose cruiser was hit shortly before 5 a.m. Saturday had activated his emergency lights and was on the way to the disabled vehicle when the Tesla hit the cruiser’s left side and then collided with the other vehicle, highway patrol spokeswoman Lt. Kim Montes told The Orlando Sentinel.

The report said the 27-year-old man in the Tesla and the driver of the disabled vehicle suffered minor injuries and the trooper was unhurt.

Tesla did not immediately respond to an email sent to its press address.

Autopilot has frequently been misused by Tesla drivers, who have been caught driving drunk or even riding in the back seat while a car rolled down a California highway.

The electric vehicle maker uses a camera-based system, a lot of computing power, and sometimes radar to spot obstacles, determine what they are, and then decide what the vehicles should do. But researchers say it has had trouble with parked emergency vehicles and perpendicular trucks in its path.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened the Tesla probe after tallying 11 crashes since 2018 in which Teslas on autopilot or cruise control have hit vehicles where first responders have used flashing lights, flares, an illuminated arrow board or cones warning of hazards.

In those crashes, 17 people were injured and one was killed, the NHTSA said. An investigation could lead to a recall or other enforcement action.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which also has investigated Tesla crashes, has recommended that NHTSA and Tesla limit the autopilot’s use to areas where it can safely operate. It also recommended that Tesla be required to improve its system to ensure drivers pay attention.

Last year the NTSB blamed Tesla, drivers and lax regulation by NHTSA for two collisions in which Teslas crashed beneath crossing tractor-trailers.

The crashes into emergency vehicles cited by NHTSA began on Jan. 22, 2018, in Culver City, California, near Los Angeles when a Tesla using autopilot struck a parked firetruck with flashing lights. No one was injured in that accident.

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