For Hometown News
PORT ST. LUCIE -- As part of Port St. Lucie's efforts to be a leader in environmentally friendly initiatives, the city is working with Tesla Motors and Town Center at St. Lucie West to open the Treasure Coast's first Tesla supercharging station for electric vehicles.
After working with Mayor JoAnn Faiella to find an appropriate location, the company filed a permit application and construction plans with the city, proposing to install eight electric car charging connections in the parking lot of the Town Center plaza, just off I-95 and St. Lucie West Boulevard.
"I got the idea while reading Motor Trend Magazine. It occurred to me that we would be a great location for an electric vehicle charging station," Mayor Faiella said. "It fits perfectly with what we are trying to do on environmental issues."
Several businesses are within a short walk from the proposed station, which will make electric car usage more convenient for people traveling between South Florida and the Treasure Coast, Orlando, Tampa and Space Coast areas.
"It will be so nice to have travelers pull off the highway and visit our local stores and restaurants while their cars are recharging," Mayor Faiella said. "Then when they see what a beautiful and friendly city we have, they will be encouraged to come back again and again -- in their emission-free cars."
More than 11 million people live within a 3-hour drive to Port St. Lucie. The city's centralized location and convenient highway access make it a natural stopping point between several major metropolitan areas of the state.
Interim City Manager Jeff Bremer managed cities in Michigan for many years and has seen firsthand how an automobile company can influence a city's future.
"The arrival of the highly regarded Tesla Motors in Port St. Lucie shows that leading business innovators see the promise of our city," he said. "And the impressive success of Tesla demonstrates the need for the auto industry to focus more on the manufacturing of electric cars. Tesla can be the economic model for the Big Three."
In recent years, the city has increased its commitment to reduce environmental impacts and conserve natural resources. Initiatives include the installation of a solar power system at the Civic Center in 2011 and upgrades to lighting, air conditioning and other electrical appliances throughout city buildings this past year.
The improvements are estimated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by the equivalent of 774 cars a year, and are one reason why the city was rated by the American Lung Association as having the 5th cleanest air in the country in 2012.
As demand for electric vehicles grows, the presence of a leading "green" automobile company in Port St. Lucie will help establish the city's identity within the automobile and clean energy industries.
The Tesla application and paperwork are now under review by city staff.