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Electric car charging stations coming to Lakewood Ranch | Science & Technology

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Electric car charging stations coming to Lakewood Ranch
Electric car charging stations coming to Lakewood Ranch

In the largest green-certified master-planned community in the state of Florida, installation is starting on two electric car charging stations in Lakewood Ranch.  Installation of the stations is expected to be complete within the next 30 days at two Lakewood Ranch locations—one at the University Parkway Information Center, and the other at Main Street.

The stations are designed to accommodate all-electric cars, such as the new Ford Focus Electric, Tesla,  and the Nissan Leaf, as well as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, such as the Chevy Volt or the Fisker Karma.  The stations also will be able to re-charge other types of vehicles, such as electric golf carts, neighborhood electric vehicles, and electric scooters and motorcycles.

Lakewood Ranch resident Brian Jones said he intends to use the stations when he receives one of the first Nissan Leaf vehicles in this area. “I reserved my vehicle at midnight on the first night it was available back in August,” said Jones. He expects to receive it by the end of this year and praises Lakewood Ranch for the early adoption of the charging stations. “It is critical for communities like Lakewood Ranch to implement this infrastructure,” Jones said. “Having these stations available for people to use when they are out and about will help us all move in a greener direction.”

Rex Jensen, president and CEO of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, Inc., the developer of Lakewood Ranch, said the stations fit right in with the company’s philosophy of green building. “Since we began this community, we made a commitment to green building practices, with our commitment to stewardship of the land and our wise use of resources and care for our natural surroundings,” Jensen said. “We as a company are committed to creating a safe, clean environment for our residents and our employees and it is evident in everything that we do.”

The approximately $16,000 for the charging station equipment was provided by Charge Point America, a public/private partnership program sponsored by Coulomb Technologies and the Department of Energy to provide electric vehicle charging infrastructure to 15 selected regions in the United States. As stated on its website, the program is made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the Transportation Electrification Initiative administered by the Department of Energy. The objective is to accelerate the development and production of electric vehicles to substantially reduce petroleum consumption, reduce greenhouse gas production, and create jobs. President Barack Obama has said he hopes to have a million plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles on the road by 2015.

Charge Point America is helping to install 4,600 stations nationwide on a national deadline of October 31, 2011. Local grant administrator Ken Stokes with EcoTechnologies Inc. said that Lakewood Ranch Main Street will be one of the first commercial shopping districts in the area to have a charging station.  

Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, Inc. will pay to run power to both stations and there will be no charge for driver hook up and charging to start.

The stations will be connected to an online network, so drivers will be able to use their GPS systems to easily find them, or use their smart phones to find a station that is vacant.

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