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. | firstname.lastname@example.org