MIAMI (CBS4) – Julio Toledo says he feels like a pioneer.
“I think basically electric vehicles are the future and gas-powered cars are the past”.
That’s why he’s trading in his Prius Hybrid for a new, all-electric Nissan Leaf.
“The cost of gas just keeps going up and I really want to get out of the business of paying $4.00 a gallon,” the Kendall resident told CBS4’s Chief Consumer Investigator Al Sunshine.
To get ready, Toledo recently spent about $2,000 to install an electric re-charging station in his garage.
” I’ve been patient… desperately waiting for it to arrive,” said Toledo.
The latest all-electric cars share one thing in common: they need to be recharged. It can take as long as 20-hours or more on household electrical current.
That’s why public, high-voltage charging stations are starting to pop up all over the country.
“There are some being planned for this county (Miami-Dade)I think in just a matter of months,” said Toledo.
A matter of months? It turns out that South Florida was just awarded $500,000 by Uncle Sam, to plan for a grid of public chargers.
Al Sunshine wanted to know how long it would be until owners of the new electric cars could plug into public charging stations around South Florida. Insiders told him that it still could be years.”
Broward County Commissioner Suzanne Gunzburger, chairs the South Florida Regional Planning Council.
“How many charging stations are we getting for our $500,000,” asked Sunshine.
“Honestly?” Gunzburger replied. “We’re not getting any. It (the $500,000) isn’t for any stations. The grant is for planning.”
“How long till we start seeing, for regular people, electric charging stations in South Florida?” Sunshine inquired.
Gunzberger was frank. “I would say probably three years at best.”
“And who’s going to pay for them?” asked Sunshine.
“You and I and everyone,” said Gunzberger.
“Ouch! Now that’s news to me,” said Julio Toledo when informed by Sunshine about the delays.
“From what I understood there were already some charging stations installed in parking meters. Wow! That makes a big difference,” exclaimed Toledo.
Some $350 million dollars in Federal funding is already committed to building more than 20,000 charging stations in other parts of the country. But again… none here.
In the meantime, some private companies are spending their own money installing chargers for their customers, like the brand new units at Aventura Mall.
“I don’t think it’s sinking money into a black hole,” said Toledo. “Money can be recouped and it’s a good investment for the state.”
It may not be until early next year until the half a million dollar electric car study is complete.
For now, there is no plan as to where public chargers should be built around South Florida, or ultimately, who’s going to pay for them.