Some day they'll be as common as gas pumps.
But for at least the next few years, electric charging stations will be few in number. Which is why a Captiva resort has placed two of the devices on the grounds. The charging stations at the South Seas Island Resort are for guests to the gated and popular tourist destination, one near the entry to the sprawling complex, the other in the rear of the 330-acre property. The devices were purchased from the electric carmaker Tesla.
"It's an option for our guests," said Daniel Smock, with the resort's marketing and communications office. There is no charging fee to guests, he said.
Charging station at South Seas Island Resort
While electric stations were slow in gaining traction, the popularity of electric vehicles and the complementary need for power has prompted obvious growth of home and public charging stations. There are some 12,000, 240-volt stations in the US. There were a handful of electric vehicles just a couple of years ago. It's estimated there are some 60,000 on the roads this year. There are another 45,000 hybrids requiring charging, millions of battery-gas hybrids.
The Captiva-Sanibel area now has two charging stations, with the other at a Sanibel coffee shop. There are a couple in Fort Myers Beach, dozens in the immediate radius of Fort Myers. Plugshare.com is one source for electric owners to find an available outlet to juice their vehicles. Most electric vehicles get about 300 miles from a charge.
The issue in Captiva, particularly, is the isolation. Drivers of gas-powered vehicles struggle with finding traditional gasoline, let alone an alternative power source.
"There are so few," Smock said of charging stations, "and we're happy to be the first (Captiva) resort to have one."
Tesla has been aggressive in the electric vehicle market. The company was founded by a software billionaire in 2003. The company this year introduces its fourth-generation car. Toyota, Nissan, General Motors and others are building all-electric vehicles. It's estimated that 2 million electric vehicles will be on US roads by the year 2020.