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Sarasota’s Solid EV Charging Infrastructure – How Cities Can Lead

Downtown Sarasota, Florida, has a solid infrastructure of charging stations for electric cars. EV drivers benefit with easy, simple charging options. The aim is to provide drivers options that support vehicles that don’t spew fumes. Air pollution in the city will subside as more drivers adopt EVs.

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With appreciation, CleanTechnica was able to talk with two people with the foresight and the ability to support sustainable transportation in Sarasota, and who can help inspire others to do so.

Mark Lyons CAPP, Parking Division General Manager, and Stevie Freeman-Montes, Sustainability Manager, were instrumental to Sarasota’s relative EV leadership, so we spent some time asking them specific questions about advancing EV infrastructure and adoption.

Nissan LEAF and Tesla Model S Charging

A Nissan LEAF (mine), Tesla Model S, and Chevy Volt in a parking garage in Sarasota.

To start with, here are some question to and answers from Mark Lyons:

Cynthia: “Who have you talked to and worked with to advance EV charging infrastructure and adoption in Sarasota?”city-of-saraosota

Mark Lyons: “FPL has been a true benefit and partner in advancing the use of EV stations. The Parking Division developed a set of guiding principles that includes the integration of more eco-friendly and sustainable solutions in parking and transportation.

“We also have on staff a Manager for Sustainable programs that has worked hard to improve our position in this area. Her name is Stevie Freeman-Montes.” 

Stevie Freeman-Montes: “Back when the City of Sarasota Commission voted to sign a 30-year agreement with FPL to provide electricity to our residents, one unique aspect of that agreement was that FPL had sub-requirements under a separate ‘Renewable Energy Agreement.’ As part of this Renewable Energy Agreement, FPL was required to provide 5 public charging stations to the City of Sarasota at no cost … and then to add more 10 years later. So five of the stations the City of Sarasota has are due to this close partnership. The other stations we have are due to Mark’s foresight within our parking garages and overall parking strategy.”

Cynthia: “In what kind of settings?”

Mark Lyons: “We additionally have communicated the plans to improve our network at residential association meetings and business associations.”

Cynthia: “What groups have you worked with?”

Mark Lyon: “Downtown Condo Association; Sarasota Downtown Merchants Association; Downtown Sarasota Alliance.”

Air pollution is something we are all just used to as we drive, walk, take transit, or bicycle, but it results in millions of premature deaths a year, and hundreds of billions or even trillions of dollars in health costs. Air pollution is apparently the prime reason Sarasota is encouraging EV adoption.

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Level 2 EV Charger north of St. Armands Circle. Drive north on lovely Longboat Key to Coquina Beach. Charge while you catch the sunset.

Stevie Freeman-Montes points to gas-driven traffic as one of the main and growing issues for air quality in Sarasota:

“I conduct a community-wide greenhouse gas inventory, which measures our emissions from commercial and residential energy use, solid waste production, and transportation. When comparing our greenhouse gas emissions from 2003 and 2007, our transportation sector was the only sector that increased during that time (our electric grid and the way we dealt with methane in solid waste got a lot cleaner). This is one of the many, many reasons we also support electric vehicles … to decrease local greenhouse gasses associated with tailpipe emissions.”

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Bayou near downtown Sarasota

That cloud will lift as the transition to zero-emissions transit continues. I hope we outgrow the charging infrastructure soon. I trust Sarasota will keep up the high-quality infrastructure supporting the transition to zero-emissions transportation, but we need people to get into the cars as well.

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Sarasota Sunset

Related Stories:

All photos by Cynthia Shahan for CleanTechnica.com

 
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Written By

Cynthia Shahan started writing after previously doing research and publishing work on natural birth practices. (Several unrelated publications) She is a licensed health care provider. She studied and practiced both Waldorf education, and Montessori education, mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings born with spiritual insights and ethics beyond this world. (She was able to advance more in this way led by her children.)

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