South Florida Looking To Lead The Charge For Electric Cars

DANIA BEACH (CBS4) – A South Florida company says it’s ready to lead the charge in powering electric cars.

Andy Kinard, president of the Miami Beach-based Car Charging Group, believes the higher gas prices go, the more inclined drivers will be to turn to electric cars.

“It’s going to be ultimately good for America that we finally wean ourselves of this oil addiction,” Kinard told CBS 4’s Carey Codd. “It’s going to take something like 4 or 5 dollar gallon gas to make us do it.”

Kinard’s company has installed dozens of car charging stations across South Florida — including in parking garages in Dania Beach, Deerfield Beach and the Aventura Mall. Nationally, Kinard says they’ve installed stations in parking garages in New York City and the Mall of the Americas in Minnesota.

He admits that right now the company is chasing the limited electric cars that are available but eventually he believes the charging stations will be placed where people need them.

“We’ll put these units in at apartments and condos so (drivers) can charge at night while they’re waiting to go to work,” Kinard explained. “We’ll put them in parking garages so (drivers) can charge them while they’re at work.”

Kinard said he expects to charge about $3 an hour to charge a vehicle, which take roughly between 4-6 hours to gain a complete charge.

He said there’s country’s electrical grids can handle the load.

“If every family in the United States bought an electric car and charged it at night we wouldn’t need to build any more power plants,” Kinard said. “We’ve got enough capacity in the system.”

Kinard has a believer in Brett Circe, who purchased one of the first Chevy Volt’s to come off the assembly line. Circe’s name sat on a waiting list for months before picking up his Volt in Washington, D.C. and driving it to his home in Fort Lauderdale last December. The Volt is not yet available for sale in Florida.

Circe says he’s saved a ton on gas — “about $4 to $5 thousand dollars a year” — and says the car is a joy to drive. He describes it as a “luxury” car.

The cost of a Volt — about $40,000 with a tax credit of $7,500 — is prohibitive for many and Circe says General Motors needs to do a good job of informing the public about the benefits of going electric.

“I think there’s an uphill battle for GM to educate the public about a vehicle like this,” Circe said. “Frankly, people don’t understand it.”

The Volt is quiet, high-tech and easy to drive. It’s interior displays appear more like a futuristic computer game than a car dashboard. And the car’s design is unique. With a battery running the length of the car, seating is tight.

The car features a battery that will last 40 miles. After the battery runs down, a backup generator kicks on. The generator is fueled by an 8-gallon gas tank.

Circe likens the setup to using a generator during a hurricane.

“The battery of the car and the electric motor are plugged into a generator,” he explained. “When the battery drains down and is almost dead, the generator kicks on and provides power to the motor and provides power to the battery to keep you going.”

Circe said the battery life is plenty for him to drive to work, lunch, errands and home. He charges his Volt at home each night and has not seen a spike in his electric bill.

“It’s been fantastic,” he said. “The longest period of time was 40 days without buying a gallon gas.”

He usually keeps a few gallons of gas in the car and fills the vehicle when he goes on a road trip. With a full battery and gas tank, the Volt gets about 350 miles.

Plus, Circe said he bought the car because of the power of patriotism.

“This car is fueled in America,” he said. “The electrical grid is 100 percent fueled in America. So, (the Volt) is made in Detroit and it’s fueled in America.”

Andy Kinard believes mass production of electric cars will lower the price. And with gas prices climbing, he believes drivers are ready for a change.

“You’ll see an electric car every day in a year from now,” Kinard said.

More from Carey Codd
  • Carlo

    Sounds good to me! Smelling pollution from cars and weed eaters is horrible here.

  • BR Sumbich

    Llets do the math.

    3 bucks an hour x 4-6 hrs charge time to drive 50 miles in a volt comes to roughly 30 cents a mile.

    A 15 MPG gashog that buys gas at 4 bucks is .26 cents a mile.
    But there’s no 500 a month payment on the gashog… The decision to buy electric is easy.

    • Brett Circe

      Agree the math does not communicate in a :90 spot. On a Volt, it costs me about $1.50 to charge at home overnight if I am fully depleted (typically I have about 1/3 a battery when I get home so probably closer to $1). If these units charge $2.50/hr, and I charge at 240v, then it would take about 4 hours to charge (if fully depleted) or $10. That’s 10x what I pay at home and I would probably not do that unless I was out of town or something. If the power costs the unit owner $1, he is obviously trying to make a profit on it, and I get that. Right now, all units are free, so I am going to enjoy that while it lasts. In the 30 minutes we filmed, I added 12% to my battery pack (from 60% to 72%).

    • Jimbo99

      I did a similar analysis with a hybrid. The Civic, a co-worker bought his for $ 25K, because naturally you’re not going to buy a new one without the extended warranty. Batteries are only under warranty for 8 years. Well you could buy a used gasoline Civic, pay $ 5/gallon and drive it for just as long as the new one and wind up saving money. $ 3 for an hour of charge, what a bargain ? I want to see the profit margin on that.

      • Brett Circe

        I would not compare the Volt to a Civic, it’s more like a BMW 1 series when comparing it’s features and detailing. You would have to add every option to a Civic to match what the Volt comes with standard.

  • Jimbo99

    BTW, this is America, when the Govt., even those ower/operators of the charging stations/docks realize that a full charge is only costing about $ 20 ($3 x6), the $ 80-100 that it used to cost for a 20-25 gallon tank of gas and prices naturally have to climb back to those levels for the hybrid cars. Those that are on that gravy train have grown accustomed to getting their cut of that. And their spending habits will never be cut back to forgo anything. They’re going to have to charge someone else to pay for it. And the cost of electric will be just as much as gasoline soon enough. Only difference is the amount of pollution from exhaust, because these batteries ? Where do the spent one’s go ?

    • Brett Circe

      That math is still off, it would be $2,50/hr for 4 hours for using these units. Their costs is probably $1, so they are making abt $1.50/hr profit.

      Right now in the U.S. 98% of all car batteries are recycled, I am guessing the value of EV batteries will push that number upwards near 100%.

      • John Brown

        Sounds good to me. I have been seriously thinking about buying a Volt. I am so glad that you are happy with it!

  • Nancy Martini

    Yea! I have been waiting so long for this! Thirty years ago I drove an electric car my dad built in the garage. The technology has been there we just needed to care.

  • cyberpine

    I test drove the volt.. it’s nice and impressive. Where the math makes no sense is not in the gasoline hog.. cause that hog is going to cost you much more than just in fuel over time. Where the math is messed up is if you are in the market for a new car and consider choising between Chevy cruize at 18k or the Volt at 40k. Basically two very similar cars.. one doing over 30mpg the other doing 95mpg + electric expenses… one with a solid resale that you would conisider buying, the other you’d be crazy to buy so you pay a lot more upfront int he monthly lease. The execs at Chevy must be on crack or seriously miscalculated the number of rich trehuggers out there.

    • cyberpine

      … not to say the Chevy Volt does not make sense if it had a 100mile range, Gasoline was at $6.00/gal and you had a 50+ mile commute. Problem is, when 10 electric cars come out, gas will drop to under $2.00, but your electric bill will remain the saame. I also wonder about people who commute 2 hours to work each way… it never makes sense to me, I’d take a pay cut to have my life back.. or just move if your job is so important.

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