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In the driver’s seat: FPL touts electric vehicles, sets example with its fleet

Florida Power & Light has saved millions with its 500-strong fleet of electric and hybrid vehicles. (Doug Murray, FPL / March 15, 2011)
By Doreen Hemlock, Sun Sentinel

6:40 p.m. EDT, September 25, 2013

Florida’s largest utility operates more than 620 vehicles that are either electric-gas hybrids, plug-in hybrids or all-electric.

When it comes to electric vehicles, Florida Power & Light Co. both promotes them and drives them.

The state’s largest electric utility wants motorists to embrace battery-powered vehicles and save on gasoline and diesel fuel. Vehicles powered by the principal product sold by FPL cost about 80 percent less to operate than conventional cars and trucks, the company figures.

The Juno-based utility is leading by example. It operates more than 620 vehicles that are either electric-gas hybrids, plug-in hybrids or all-electric, boasting one of the country’s largest hybrid-electric fleets.

That tally includes 550 smaller cars and trucks (92 percent of its light-duty fleet), such as Toyota Prius hybrids it began buying more than a decade ago, said Art Macey, FPL’s director of fleet services. Many heavy-duty vehicles in its total 3,600-vehicle fleet are not yet made in electric versions.

By 2020, FPL aims to purchase only hybrids or electric vehicles when commercially viable, Macey said.

Fuel savings from current investment are significant. FPL estimates it cut fuel purchases by 295,000 gallons in 2012. If prices averaged $3.50 per gallon, that’s about $1 million saved on fuel last year.

“When we take money out of operations,” said Macey, “we can pass that savings onto consumers.”

Sales of plug-in electric vehicles have been slow to take off. That’s partly because they cost much more than traditional cars, and the network of charging stations remains small.


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