First city in the county to have charging stations
By Chris Fish
BREVARD -- As one of her many goals, Julie Foster hopes to create a sustainable economy for Brevard County.
"One of my favorite quotes comes from the movie Deep Green," said Ms. Foster, Melbourne's sustainability program manger. "'All we have to do is care, act and grow up a little bit; we can get this done.'"
Now, in an effort to create a greener, environmentally friendly area for greater economic development, the city of Melbourne will provide charging stations for electric vehicles.
"Melbourne has made a commitment to sustainability," Ms. Foster said. "Part of this lifelong process includes encouraging utilization of a variety of resources, so as not to deplete a single one."
The city of Melbourne charging station, located in front of the Eau Gallie Library at 1521 Pineapple Ave., becomes the first to be offered by a government in Brevard County, Ms. Foster said.
"The idea here is that we are not only fueling electric vehicles, but the local economy, as well," Ms. Foster said.
Officials said the project has been in development since 2006, and the location allowed a reasonable cost of installation, and the $15,000 that city used for the project was an FPL rebate from a previous energy project.
Batteries that power electric and hybrid vehicles are often charged at the owner's home or business. Depending on the vehicle type, the range of travel before recharging is generally limited to less than 100 miles.
Officials said this charging station provides an alternative option for electric vehicle owners, allowing them to either 'top off' the charge of their vehicle or receive a full charge.
"The charging stations are a symbol of our nation paying attention to its wake-up call and taking actions to do things differently, more energy efficiently and more intelligently," Ms. Foster said.
Officials said that use of the station requires a $1 access fee, regardless of the amount of energy used. The system is maintained by Chargepoint, the nation's largest plug-in charging network, in which an online map points drivers to available stations.
The Federal Department of Energy expects well over a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015, along with more charging stations within the Melbourne area.
"Melbourne is looking into the installation of charging stations at City Hall and at the west end of Historic Downtown Melbourne for the next fiscal year," Ms. Foster said. "We are also encouraging local businesses, malls, schools and hospitals to expand their immediate goals to include alternative fueling options for their patrons."