STUART — Four spots at the Sailfish Circle parking lot on South Dixie Highway in downtown will become electric-vehicle charging stations.
The City Commission on Monday approved a 10-year agreement with Florida Power & Light Co. to install the level 3 universal chargers in a 4-1 vote. The cost of installation — more than $500,000 — is to be paid for by the electric company, and installation is expected to take eight to 10 months, said FPL senior project manager Peter Martinez.
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The approval came under the condition the city be allowed to move the chargers, if needed, at the city’s expense. Moreover, the chargers could be sold to the city for $1 when the agreement expires.
Commissioner Christopher Collins was the lone dissenter, saying he was unable to see the benefit of losing parking spots in one of the city’s busiest areas.
“We get no rent, no benefit beyond the perceived benefit for people who might be able to charge here,” Collins said.
Marshall Critchfield, external affairs manager for FPL, told the commission electric-vehicle owners are expected to shop downtown while their car charges.
“There is a community benefit to having electric-vehicle chargers in a city,” he said.
Collins highlighted that FPL customers would be paying for operation of the charging stations with higher utility bills. Martinez confirmed this would be the case, but by “fractions of a penny,” he said.
FPL first approached the city about the chargers in May as part of the company’s EVolution program to expand charging stations statewide. The chargers slated for downtown are the fastest on the market and can provide electric vehicles up to 20 miles of driving per minute of charging, according to Forbes.
Drivers are to pay 30 cents per kilowatt-hour of charge, Martinez said.
The city’s agreement with FPL comes four yespanrs after officials partnered with Tesla to install four free Tesla chargers and two universal chargers at Kiwanis Park on South Colorado Avenue. Tesla donated the level 2 chargers and paid $10,000 toward installation while the city paid about $5,000.