I was standing in front of the ME Miami hotel in downtown Miami, just across the bay from Miami Beach, and was about to drive the new 2017 Chevy Bolt, an all-electric compact crossover, to Babcock Ranch on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
I must admit, I had never heard of the place, and odds are, neither have you.
Nestled between Naples and Fort Meyers, it’s a sustainable 18,000-acre development, set among the 73,000-acre Babcock Ranch Preserve. All of its power is solar-generated on a 440-acre parcel, owned and operated on the preserve by Florida Power & Light. The town’s homes are built to Florida Green Building standards using sustainable local materials and are accented with native plants. Builders even relocate trees on the property in order to preserve them, something uncommon just about everywhere else.
It was a natural place to recharge the Bolt. And it’s 164 miles from Miami.
It’d be tough reaching Babcock Ranch with one of the other electric cars currently available: The Hyundai Ioniq Electric has a 124-mile range, the Volkswagen e-Golf rates at 125, the Ford Focus Electric can go 115, the BMW i3 can reach 114 or 81 depending on model, the Nissan Leaf gets 107, the Kia Soul Electric does 93, the Fiat 500e can travel 84, and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV is capable of 62.
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