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Local firm Apollo gets federal contract

A small Sarasota company has won a contract to supply 183 electric car charging stations at federal government buildings across the country.

Apollo Sunguard Systems Inc. on Ashton Road outbid five competitors for the job, which could be worth $900,000 through the public buildings division of the Government Services Administration.

“We got the greatest Christmas present going,” says Apollo President Kevin Connelly. “They let us know this is a highly visible project.”

Although Apollo Sunguard is a manufacturer, in this case it will distribute the product of a California company called ChargePoint, which claims the largest system of charging stations in the world. The relationship is like that of a car manufacturer and dealership.

The devices the government will buy stand about 7 feet tall and serve two cars simultaneously, offering a full charge in about five hours. ChargePoint’s online network provides the locations of its stations, and software records the usage of electricity and other statistics at each station.

The cost of electric vehicles equates to 77 cents a gallon in gas, the industry reports. So, the potential exists for considerable savings over gasoline-powered vehicles. The federal government presumably will offer the stations to the public, its employees and electric vehicles in its fleet. The purchase signals that alternative forms of transportation are making their way into the mainstream.

Whatever traction electric vehicles have gained, however, is tempered by the limited range that those vehicles can travel before they have to be charged. For the Nissan Leaf, it’s about 100 miles

“When I tried to get my wife to buy one, she called it the Leash,” Connelly said.

He expects technology will improve the product.

At first glance, the nexus between electric charging stations and Apollo Sunguard’s primary business does not stand out. The company, which employs 16, manufactures and sells cloth shade structures.
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