As Sanibel and Captiva islands continue their recovery from Hurricane Ian, visitors driving electric vehicles can now rest assured they will be able to charge their cars while staying on the island.
In planning stages before Hurricane Ian hit in September 2022, the new electric-vehicle (EV) charging station with two-plugins – the first public EV station on the islands – was cause for a ribbon-cutting on Wednesday, Jan. 17, at the SanCap Chamber Visitor Center on Sanibel Island.
National organization Chambers for Innovation & Clean Energy and Florida-based Optimus Energy Solutions provided and installed the charging station at no cost. Two parking spots on the right side at the back of the chamber parking lot are now designated for EV charging, open 24 hours daily. Users can pay at the station by credit card or with the ChargePoint app.
“This is an important step for the future of our destination, offering confidence to drivers of electric vehicles that they will find the infrastructure they need to charge their cars while experiencing our destination,” says John Lai, SanCap Chamber president and CEO. “We are grateful for our partners who have worked for several years to make this possible.”
The charger is part of a program developed by Chambers for Innovation & Clean Energy to help chambers and their members have access to EV chargers throughout Florida. The program addresses a critical need for the state, which currently has limited access to EV charging stations.
“More and more Florida residents are choosing to drive electric vehicles and, as such, expanding the infrastructure for EV drivers is vital,” says Ryan Evans, executive director of Chambers for Innovation & Clean Energy. “Bringing this charger online is particularly significant as John and his chamber team have been tremendous partners for us over the years.”
Based in Mt. Dora, Fla., Optimus Energy Solutions provided and installed the charger at no cost to the chamber. The company will manage and maintain the charger over the next 10 years.
“It was quite an honor to help this community come back in this manner as all of us Floridians felt the pain for Southwest Florida after Ian’s destruction,” said Ben Pauluhn, president of Optimus Energy Solutions. “Hopefully, this brings some relief to the area and showcases why people should come back to Sanibel and Captiva to visit one of our state’s great destinations.”
“We encourage EV-chargers to spend time in our visitor center, using our digital and other tools to plan their island stay, talking with our trained and helpful staff, taking selfies with our oversized shell heart sculpture, and relaxing in our welcoming space newly renovated after Hurricane Ian,” said Lai. “The chamber also lies at the crossroads of biking and hiking paths visitors can access and travel to local restaurants and retailers while they wait for their vehicle to recharge.”
ABOUT SANIBEL & CAPTIVA ISLANDS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to promoting the prosperity of its members and preserving the quality of life of our community. The Chamber plays a key role in facilitating communication and cooperation between business, residents, and government to enhance the economic health of the islands. Its website, sanibel-captiva.org, receives over 1.3 million visits per year. For more information about the chamber, visit sanibel-captiva.org or contact John Lai, president and CEO, at 239-472-2348 or [email protected].
ABOUT CHAMBERS FOR INNOVATION & CLEAN ENERGY
Chambers for Innovation & Clean Energy (CICE) is the only nationwide network dedicated to amplifying the chamber of commerce voice in energy resilience. Founded by chamber executives, the CICE network represents over 1,300 organizations, from every state and legislative district in the U.S. Through research, peer-to-peer learning, and mobilization, CICE and its network advance bipartisan climate solutions and work closely with policymakers from both political parties to educate them on the business case for clean energy. For more information, visit ChambersforInnovation.com.
ABOUT OPTIMUS ENERGY SOLUTIONS
Optimus Energy Solutions is one of Florida’s leading providers for electric vehicle charging stations and solar energy arrays for business, non-profits and local governments. The company, headquartered in Mt. Dora, Fla, was started to make renewable energy and EV charging accessible to individuals and businesses throughout Florida, Georgia, and the Southeast. The company also serves as an educational resource on renewable energy solutions and how it makes sense for individuals, families, businesses, and communities on many levels. The company was recently named one of Florida’s top 50 companies to watch by GrowFL. For more information, please visit OptimusEnergySolutions.com.