ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman acquired to test-drive an electrical Tesla Mannequin X on the streets of St. Petersburg on Monday. He shortly turned enamoured.
“The acceleration is unbelievable. It actually will get off,” Kriseman mentioned, stepping on the accelerator. “Isn’t that loopy?”
Kriseman sees Teslas and different extra reasonably priced electrical vehicles as an essential approach for town to cut back its carbon footprint. Teslas alone that gained’t remedy the issue, he says: It’s cheaper electrical vehicles that may convert extra individuals.
St. Petersburg hopes to chop greenhouse fuel emissions by 20 p.c by the top of 2020 and use solely “clear power” by 2035 as a part of its first Built-in Sustainability Motion Plan. The town additionally hopes so as to add extra charging stations to make electrical autos extra possible and plans on making a “inexperienced” fleet of electrical metropolis autos to chop prices and emissions.
“One of many best methods you may have an effect in your carbon footprint is to get out of a gas-guzzling automobile,” Kriseman mentioned.
Kriseman test-drove the Tesla by way of metropolis’s partnership with the Southern Alliance for Clear Power to placed on a roadshow Monday of electrical autos to offer individuals a shot to drive electrical vehicles for themselves. Kriseman hopes it can encourage individuals to purchase their very own electrical autos. This system hopes to let 500 individuals test-drive electrical autos by the top of 2020, in accordance with Susan Glickman, the group’s director.
Kriseman was joined on the occasion by U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, who touted laws he launched in April that will prolong a tax credit score for putting in photo voltaic by 10 years.
“We have to preserve doing these sorts of issues as a result of a lot of the issue now we have with air pollution comes from our autos,” Crist mentioned.
The town hopes to energy its future “inexperienced” autos by way of renewable power like photo voltaic. The town has gained momentum in constructing charging stations, including almost 60 in a yr to maneuver the entire to 80, in accordance with Kriseman’s sustainability and resiliency director, Sharon Wright. Of these 80, 30 are city-owned, in accordance with Wright.
By Duke Power’s “Park n Plug” program, town has utilized for about 40 charging stations and has put in greater than a dozen this yr alone. The town is just not assured to the entire stations it has utilized for, she mentioned.