County officials and area residents join Hillsborough County Commissioners Mark Sharpe, District 7, during the ribbon cutting celebration of the County’s first electric car charging station located at the Bloomingdale Regional Public Library, 1906 Bloomingdale Avenue in Valrico.

With two Nissan Leafs and three Chevy Volts on hand, Hillsborough County Commissioners Mark Sharpe, District 7 and Al Higginbotham welcomed a handful of residents to celebrate the installation and ribbon cutting of the County’s first electric car charging station earlier this month.
Located on the east side parking lot at the Bloomingdale Regional Public Library, 1906 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico, the station is the first of several to be installed at County facilities over the coming months.
The new station will allow electric car owners to charge their car for free through a pilot program led by  Sharpe, in an effort to develop infrastructure for increased electric vehicle use by consumers seeking cleaner and cheaper energy alternatives.
“This effort supports both business and consumer needs and moves us toward energy independence.” Sharpe said, whose comments are supported by a number of  local car dealerships.
County Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) Executive Director Rick Garrity, was pleased to see the  station become a reality, which he said not only puts the region on the map, but is one of 150 that will be available throughout Tampa Bay within the next couple of months.
“Currently the Tampa-Orlando area is No. 3 in the nation for the number of charging stations in place, Garrity said. “We are supporting the local car dealers in their efforts to bring these cars to the consumers.”
In June, the County Commission approved participation in a two-year Department of Energy grant opportunity to install ChargePoint electric car charging stations, which are provided to the County free of charge.
“The cost of installation and electric usage at the charging stations is covered by the County,” Garity said.

Each station will be able to charge electric vehicles from all major car makers at 240-volt as well as a 120-volt and will be connected to an online network that allows drivers to use their computer or smart phone to locate stations nationwide, see which are in use, and the service fee for use.
While there is no cost to drivers to get a charge at stations throughout the county during the two-year grant period, they will be required to pay the existing parking rate (if applicable) at the given locations. 
Sharpe said that at the end of the grant period, Commissioners will decide if they will keep the existing units and pay for their maintenance and upkeep, and for connection to the nationwide charging station network.
Following the ribbon-cutting, EPC engineer Jason Waters, who recently purchased his own Chevrolet Volt electric car, was on hand at to demonstrate how simple it is to use the station.
After removing the charger nozzle from its holster, Waters looked up and said, “You just hook it up and charge.”
Each charging station can be activated by ChargePass Card, credit card or using a smart phone, said Garrity.
County charging stations also will be located at:
    two at the County’s Pierce Street Parking Garage, 319 N. Pierce St., Tampa
    two at the St. Pete Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa,
   the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County, 3629 Queen Palm Drive, Tampa
    the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library, 2902 W. Bearss Ave., Tampa
   the Jan Kaminis Platt Regional Library, 3910 S. Manhattan Ave., Tampa
   Plant City Courthouse, 301 North Michigan Ave., in Plant City
    Hillsborough Community College, 4001 W. Tampa Bay Blvd., Tampa
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