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According to a presentation delivered to the Sarasota County Commission this week by a Sierra Club community organizer, the county could attract greater numbers of electric vehicle (EV) drivers if it invested in its charging infrastructure and offered tax rebates to encourage the technology. Why do that? Cleaner air for one thing, and a chance to bring EV-driving tourists to town. Britten Cleveland, a conservation organizer with the Sierra Club, delivered that message to the board Tuesday, May 6, as part of the environmental group's Florida Healthy Air Campaign. Sarasota County earned a C from the American Lung Association in its 2013 State of the Air report, meaning the county ranks poorly in regard to the amount of ozone in its atmosphere. Where does that ozone come from? Cars, of course. With that in mind, Cleveland joined with EV enthusiasts to form the Suncoast Electric Vehicle Collaborative, which aims to promote EV-friendly policies at the state and local lev- els. Over the course of three workshops held last year, the Collaborative identified major challenges to increasing the number of EVs on the road locally and identified potential policies that could improve the situation. According to county data, Sarasota County has the highest number of EVs on the road per population, and the number of EVs in the county grew from 99 to 160 (62 percent) in just nine months in 2013. But with only 20 or so charging stations around the county, Cleveland told the commission "the current infrastructure is not adequate for the majority of drivers." The cities of Sarasota and Venice, as well as the county, have invested in adding free Two Chevy Volts and a Nissan Leaf charging up. Photo by rudisillart via Wikimedia Commons PLUG IN SARASOTA COUNTY'S ELECTRIC VEHICLE INFRASTRUCTURE DUBBED 'NOT ADEQUATE' FOR MOST DRIVERS By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor

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