You can charge your electric vehicle at Gorman’s Auto

Lance Shearer

Sean Gorman wants to give you a charge. While Gorman’s Auto Service & Tire Center, the business his father founded on East Elkcam Circle, has taken care of internal combustion engine-driven vehicles for over a quarter of a century, he and his father Tim Gorman have seen the future, and it is electric.

“There’s no doubt, electric cars are coming. Not overnight, but you’re going to see more and more electric cars” in the years ahead, said Sean Gorman.

Sean Gorman works an electric vehicle charging device that Gorman's Auto Service on Marco Island has installed and opened to the public, at the shop on East Elkcam Circle.

Drivers who have gone with an electric vehicle have a problem, he said.

“If you’re on the road, there are very limited options for charging your car,” he said. So Gorman Auto installed a charging station for electric car batteries. Sitting outside the business, the charger is available to the public 24/7, with the swipe of a credit card.

“If you have an electric vehicle on Marco Island, there is almost nowhere to charge it,” said Tim. “The Marriott has a charging station, but that’s for hotel guests.”

Amanda Cox, director of sales and marketing at the JW Marriott, confirmed the hotel offers charging facilities in their parking lot.

“They are for hotel guests or others using our facilities,” said Cox. “There is no ‘charge to charge,’ beyond paying for parking if required. For instance, if you were having dinner at Ario, and had your car charging during dinner, you would get your parking stub validated, and there would be no charge.”

Father and son, Tim and Sean Gorman, watch as a vehicle charges at the charging station they installed Gorman's Auto Service on Marco Island.

For those not staying at the hotel, unless they have the high-voltage charger at their home, Gorman’s outlet is the only option. Tim Gorman said he also envisions their charger as providing a service for travelers on their way somewhere else, if for instance a driver is heading to Key West. Mobile phone apps, including Plugshare, and built-in software in some electric vehicles, flags the locations of charging stations for motorists, he said.

“This isn’t really a moneymaker for us. It’s more of a service, and a way to introduce us to electric car owners,” said Tim Gorman. The Bosch PowerMax unit they installed in September cost around $1,800, he said, and a charge costs about $3 per hour.

“We know people have used it, because the credit card charges have come through,” he said.

They wanted, said Sean Gorman, to “get ahead of the curve. It’s better to be on it than behind it.”

Tim Gorman connects a vehicle to the charger and Gorman's Auto Service on Marco Island.

Electric cars need service, too, said Tim. “Some need tires, or brakes, or oil changes. We want to be the one people turn to.”

The charging station at Gorman runs on 240 volts, and unlike a traditional 12-volt car battery, that much power can be lethal, if you don’t know what you are doing, said Tim Gorman.

“It will kill you” if you’re not cautions, he said. “Electric cars have these bright orange wires, and that means ‘beware.’ It’s not something to fool with.”

Some electric cars are hybrids, with an internal combustion engine in addition to the electric motor(s), and therefore have all the mechanical issues that go along with that. Those vehicles, of course, do not have the issue of stopping dead when the battery runs out, as they can switch over to the gas drive.

Sean Gorman and the charging device. Gorman's Auto Service on Marco Island has installed an electric vehicle charging station that is open to the public at their shop on East Elkcam Circle.

The bulk of Gorman’s business still revolves around traditional cars, and Tim Gorman said their philosophy is to head off problems before they arise.

“Our goal is not to have cars towed in. It’s to build a relationship with our customers, perform maintenance, prevent breakdowns and keep the car running right.”

Sean Gorman says gasoline powered cars are fine, but for himself,  “I’ve have my eye on a Tesla for years.”