Arriving in Style Looks Like This

Development Manager Kenneth Hernandez and Director of Customer Programs Kevin Young at Electric Vehicle Day in Tallahassee.

Buckle up: electric vehicles (EVs) are in the passing lane. As they get better and more popular, Tampa Electric is in high gear with its EV efforts – a point team members drove home for the public last month in Tallahassee.

And how do you educate people about this incredible news? Drive-up service, of course.

Business Development Manager Kenneth Hernandez and Director of Customer Programs Kevin Young drove to Tallahassee on March 27 for EV Day in Florida.

Two team members, two vehicles, one mission: Join peer utilities, Florida elected officials and others in the Capitol Courtyard to showcase the latest and greatest news about electric vehicles. Give the green light to excitement. Help people merge into the future.

What could’ve become a Fast and Furious-esque competition between utilities was strictly cooperative –and the day rolled on with positive, productive interactions.

“We were able to dispel myths about electric vehicles,” Kevin said. “One interaction that stood out was when a state official saw our vehicle plugged into one of our Tampa Electric Drive Smart chargers. They pointed to the charger and said, ‘I’ll never own an EV because they aren’t reliable. See! You have to plug yours in even for this event.’ We smiled and politely informed them the chargers were for display purposes only and that the vehicles displayed could drive up to 300 miles on a single charge. There were plenty of similar educational moments throughout the day.”

There’s a lot you can tell Tampa Electric customers about how we’re working to meet the future’s environmental demands now when it comes to transportation in the second-largest EV market in the U.S. after California: We’re taking smart steps to meet this challenge and bridge gaps between consumer needs and infrastructure. That includes supporting the development of new EV charging technology throughout the community and at our new headquarters and operations center. It also means adding to our fleet of nearly 60 alternative-fuel vehicles, with bucket trucks that use batteries to reduce idling.

“EVs have come a long way,” Kenneth said, “now having a multitude of models with 300 and 400 miles of driving range. Charging technology has also come a long way…it’s now common to see 350kW chargers that can recharge much larger batteries in 20-30 minutes, and the industry continues to work towards 10-minute charging. Existing DC fast chargers along our highways are in great locations and becoming more easily accessible.”

And EVs gradually become E-Z. Thanks in large part to our knowledgeable and dedicated road warriors, the road in front of us looks great.

“We see a future where EVs and other electric technologies will become Distributed Energy Resources that can help support the efficient operation of our grid in a way that benefits our entire customer base, regardless of whether they own an EV,” Kenneth said. “We want our team members to recognize that when it comes to partnering with our customers, we have an exciting future ahead.”