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September 5, 2019

Electric Vehicle Rollout Calls for Public-Private Partnerships

By Robert Alfert, Jr.

Law360

Reprinted with permission from Law360

While many of us were vacationing this summer, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was busy addressing Florida’s infrastructure needs. Notably, he has shown a strong inclination to embrace smart technology and innovative project delivery methods, such as autonomous vehicles and public-private partnerships, or P3s.

In mid-June, I wrote in the Orlando Business Journal about the positive implications of DeSantis signing into law H.B. 311, which progressively supports and creates legal mechanisms for the expansion of autonomous vehicle technology throughout the state, including through the use of P3s. And right before our kids all started their fall semester of school, DeSantis announced the addition of more electric vehicle charging stations down the Florida Turnpike.

While this new measure is a positive step forward, it is clear that our society needs a more comprehensive approach to transitioning from a fossil fuel-oriented mentality to EVs — with both public and private sectors working in tandem. Adding a handful of charging stations at various turnpike plazas does not get us there.

Think about it: There are tens of thousands of cars traversing the Florida Turnpike every day. It takes 45 minutes for a level 3 charging station (the type being installed along the turnpike) to adequately charge a typical EV. It takes 5 minutes to gas up a car powered by internal combustion. We all know that turnpike gas stations are crowded at peak times. How can these few charging stations handle the ever-increasing load as EVs gain traction?