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Innovation & Job News

Car Enthusiasts Fueling Electric Vehicle Buzz

Two Tampa car enthusiasts are driving the Tampa Bay region closer to embracing electric vehicles, or EVs.

Doug Mitchell, owner of Z-Fever in Tampa, has partnered with Victor Juarez to not only build electric vehicles but to educate the community about their value. 

"About five years ago Victor approached me and said he was looking for someone to help him build an electric car," says Mitchell. "We helped him fabricate a Nissan Sentra to make it electric. That’s kind of blossomed into a new business with Victor."

Mitchell says that converting cars from gasoline-powered to electric-powered really isn't as difficult as most people assume. 

"You’re  basically taking the gas motor out and replacing it with an electric one," explains Mitchell. "The difference is with the cables. You need to make the gauges work. And along with that, we did the suspension because the battery pack used is quite heavy, so it changes the balance of the vehicle."

Mitchell says he has accompanied Juarez, who is well-connected in the EV industry, to several car shows, and it was through these experiences that the pair realized they could make a bigger impact to educate than the industry was currently doing.

"By being at these shows, we realized they’re really missing the mark," says Mitchell. "If you really want to drive the vision, you have to get the consumer involved. The ones attending these shows are already involved in the industry. No consumers ever attend, even though they are open to the public."

And so Mitchell and Juarez decided to host their own expo earlier this year to educate the Tampa Bay community about the benefits of EV cars and technology. 

"What I hear most often is, 'How long can I drive an EV before I run out of power?' We partnered with Get Ready Tampa Bay, who are helping to spread the word about places like AAA on Westshore, garages in downtown Tampa and other locations where EV owners can power their vehicles in a fraction of the time it would take them to charge it at home. They thought they were coming to see a couple cars. But they were educated. People left knowing that there was so much more going on than they ever imagined. And we brought that to them."

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Doug Mitchell, Z-Fever
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