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Automobile industry’s electric future comes to SWFL


2022 is expected to be a huge year for electric vehicles; in 2021, 4% of all new cars were electric, doubling 2020’s percentage. With more and more electric vehicles on our roads, we’ll be seeing more charging stations, as most experts think it will be hard for the industry to grow until there are more charging stations.

For the people who work on the maintenance and upkeep of those electric vehicles and charging stations, however, trying to keep up with the technology is challenging.

“The changes are hard to keep up with because the technology is changing so fast,” said Dan Bristol, an automotive instructor at Fort Myers Technical College. “We’re just trying to go to trainings as much as we can. But since all this COVID, we’ve been doing only online training, so that makes it even tougher.”

“I think the training is a little bit more difficult because… I was already saying, we have to do training right now to keep up to date with Zoom meetings,” said Todd Robarge, another automotive instructor at FMTC. “There’s only so much to do, you know, through Zoom versus hands-on.”

Sales for electric vehicles are so strong that manufacturers are asking for deposits months in advance. And it is not just cars—the technology is expanding to the commercial trucking market, too.

Right now, electric trucks are more suited for short, repeatable routes. Electric trucks may even help with the truck driving shortage. The ride is smoother, and Alix Miller, the president and CEO of Florida Trucking Association, says a better quality of life will attract more drivers.

“I think there’s a lot of potential for the trucking industry,” Miller said. “First of all, when you’re talking about short and repeatable routes, it’s a very effective method of power utilization. Additionally, drivers, professional truck drivers who have been in electric vehicles really enjoy driving them, there’s a smoother ride. They’re quieter, the braking is more amenable to driving. It really also is important to have a good quality of life when working.”

The United States Postal Service says a next-generation electric delivery vehicle is expected to appear on carrier routes in 2023.