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When discussions of electric vehicle charging infrastructures come up, the west coast is often the focus, since California is the obvious EV leader. But what about Texas?

While pickup trucks, longhorns and the ability to drive 85 miles per hour may come to mind first, there's been a lot going on in the state lately for installation of EV charging stations coordinated by electric utilities, government agencies and Clean Cities coalitions. One of these utilities, Austin Energy, just received an additional $500,000 in funding from the US Department of Energy for its Central Texas EV adoption efforts. (Networks like Evgo, pictured above, are also growing in the state.)

Austin Energy released a nearly 500-page, comprehensive readiness plan to promote plug-in vehicle adoption, which you can download. "This plan represents thought leadership from utilities, universities, industry, government, and community groups," said Karl Popham, Austin Energy manager of electric vehicles and emerging technologies.

In 2011, Austin Energy was awarded $500,000 to guide the Texas River Cities initiative. This coalition represents about 50 partners in a 10-county region, including the Austin and San Antonio metro areas. Along with Austin Energy, other utilities have joined, including CPS Energy in San Antonio, New Braunfels Utilities, Pedernales Electric Cooperative, Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative and the city utilities of Georgetown and San Marcos. Austin Energy's Plug-In EVerywhere Network has 148 charging stations and makes up the largest concentration in the region.

The coalition's goal is to make EV ownership and charging an easier experience. It will streamline and unify the necessary charging equipment, membership and fees to help build consumer confidence. Austin Energy is offering a six-month subscription card for unlimited charging at any participating charging station on the 10-county region. More EVSE installations at multifamily dwellings and workplace locations is another objective.

The Texas River Cities initiative is part of what's informally called the Texas Triangle – the goal of which is to build the charging infrastructure on roads connecting the three major urban metro areas in the state – Dallas, Houston and San Antonio/Austin. Clean Cities coalitions work closely with city governments, universities and utilities to have the state play a leading role in adoption of EVs and building the charging infrastructure needed for it to happen. There aren't too many of these electric cars that can go over 85 mph, but there is a lot of interest in driving EVs for a number of Texans.


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  • 31 Comments
      harlanx6
      • 2 Years Ago
      Just as I thought. They are mining the Federal subsidies. A concept that makes no economic sense is being pursued just for the government subsidies, since they have the taxpayer's wallet and the printing press.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 2 Years Ago
      Texas is a huge state, with very large distances between cities. It is imperative that they create a recharging infrastructure to accommodate inter-city travel.
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Texas would be wise to be like Norway . . . enjoy the fruits of your oil wealth but simultaneously plan for the eventual future when the oil runs out. Texas has gone through enough booms & busts that they have learned this lesson. Well, at least some of them have.
      otiswild
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Volt will easily do 90+ mph on Texas highways. Guess how I know. Here's hoping more charger stations pop up at places like movie theaters, big box malls, etc.
      Actionable Mango
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why is it "of all places"? Isn't Texas a good candidate for solar? They are also the state with the most wind power.
        A_Guy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        Because we are addicted to oil.
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @A_Guy
          But Texas has a healthy business environment. Funny thing happens. Since taxes are based on goods and services, economic activity, and antiquated things like that, there ends up being more money for in fracture, the poor, etc. Illinios and California have the highest taxes (along with New York), but both of them are bankrupt. That means less money for cool government stuff! Detroit is planning on bulldozing 25% of their city, because people are streaming out so the population is less than 1/2 that it used to be. Who could have ever predicted that not fighting crime, raising income taxes (they have a city income tax) and soaking business wouldn't be good for the economy? Why, O, why, could no one ffigure that out? Stuff like that takes a rocket scientist to look at and understand. Right now, North Dakota has 3% unemployment. That would be a great place for the environmental types to CAVE on some issue, but say, 'okay, we will cave, but we would like 5000 charging stations in return. The government will be flush with money, so they will agree. Good economy and government flush with money.... Who cold have ever predicted....oh wait..... :-)
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @A_Guy
          Different types of businesses actually. Companies that require production, labor, land... go to texas. CA gets more of the smaller startups, IT, high tech, etc
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @A_Guy
          Joe - California has a good infrastructure and great creativity, but businesses flocking? Most California businesses are opening locations now in Texas or elsewhere...
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @A_Guy
          Funny, Both California and Texas have opposite approaches. Yet business still flock to both. And California still leads the nation with the most cities on the "best places to live" lists.
        Rotation
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        I'm surprised Texas has a lot of solar. Electricity is just too cheap there. It's about 1/3rd what it cost in California. And that means solar paybacks take that much longer.
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rotation
          Read my post above.... :-)
        floorman56
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        Because A elitist web site in NYC thinks that it's just filled with redneck KKK members in the flyover and incapable of forward thinking
          Dallas May
          • 2 Years Ago
          @floorman56
          Not to mention they have never actually been here. (Though they probably have heard that Austin is cool.)
      Dallas May
      • 2 Years Ago
      Texas has the most Level 3 fast chargers by far! Eat that Portland. https://www.evgonetwork.com/find-a-station/
      briang19
      • 2 Years Ago
      I own an electric car, and I would *never* use a public charging station due to the insane cost. Typically $2 minimum and $2 per hour. That alone is about 6x as much as it costs me to charge at home, and 3x as much as just using the gas engine. But since I'm rarely at the grocery store for more than 30 minutes, I'm paying $2 for 5 miles of charge - that's the equivalent of a car that gets ~8mpg in terms of cost. These stations need to charge for electricity used at the usual electric rates, not the jacked up rates from the companies that operate them.
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @briang19
        All the ones I have ever seen are free to plug into. Most are their to show that the city or business 'cares' whether people use them or not, Saw my first focus electric yesterday. Handsome vehicle,,,
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @briang19
        Brian, I don't think they care about the electricity... you're paying for a parking spot dude. Especially if they are pricing by time, and not kwh.
      Pip
      • 2 Years Ago
      Texas is a state largely overlooked for EV or PHEV rollout, which is sad because we have such a robust network in the major cities. In the Dallas-Fort Worth area alone we have 394 separate EVSEs at 162 different locations. Thats alot of infrastucture! Top that with 18 of those are CHAdeMO
      bluepongo1
      • 2 Years Ago
      A state with it's own power grid improves service... not surprising.
      Dave R
      • 2 Years Ago
      Man, and I thought the Blink CHAdeMO stations were overkill having a huge 40-50" LCD embedded into it. Given the amount of steel in this eVgo station, it probably costs even more. Instead of huge, gawdy stations like these, they need to be streamlined with more charging ports. Users don't care how blingy they look - they just want them to work when they need it and right now they are notoriously unreliable. Spend the money to situate them farther away from prime parking to help discourage non-EVs from parking there, too.
      Peter
      • 2 Years Ago
      The article is woefully deficient of detail of the type of charger. If its standard AC charging at 220V I have that at home and couldn't care less unless they put it in at my work. Fast charging along the highway at roadside restaurants would be good, but otherwise I wonder if other drivers are like me and are unlikely to use them.
        Peter
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Peter
        A little digging finds of the partners listed and what they have out now that its 240 Volt Level 2 as well as DC Fast Charger for some. Unfortunately its only about 18 stations in Fort Worth and Housten (but not between) often at a Walgreens for evgo with the DC fast charger (implicit). There are a whole bunch of stations in Austin for Austin Energy probably level 2's at libraries parks and some retail locations
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Peter
          All of the eVgo stations are at a Walgreens, HEB (grocery store), or Cracker Barrel, and a couple at malls. Walgreens and HEB are great selections because the charge stops are usually only 5 - 15 minutes. I know 18 QCs in a city does not sound like a lot, but I can basically drive all over Houston and never worry about range. They are all located along the highways, so there is pretty much always one on my route. I just have to plan on a short stop or two (on a super busy day) to get 100 - 150 miles of driving all over the city. The system really does work. As far as driving city-to-city, I think I would want a vehicle with a bigger pack than the LEAF has right now. Double the pack size on the LEAF and then you are looking at one 45 minute stop as opposed to three. We have two cars in our household, so it isn't a big deal to just take the 'gas guzzler' for those trips (2 - 3 times a year).
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Peter
        I agree the article lacks details, so I will fill in a few. The eVgo network that was mentioned has 15+ DC (check their website for an updated map) quick chargers in Houston and Dallas. I drive a LEAF in Houston and use these 2 - 3 times a week. I do not think there are any cities in the US as well prepared for real EV use as Houston or Dallas. The public L2 chargers are useless (3.3 kW charging vs 50 kW), I have rarely used them since getting my car. I have driven 28k miles in 17 months of owning my LEAF. That would not be possible without the DC quick chargers.
      goodoldgorr
      • 2 Years Ago
      The thing that don't work is that nobody will use a slow 240 volt level 2 charger as it is too slow as it take 4 hours. And for the fast chargers, there is many different incompatible norms so it won't fit your bev car.
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, I wouldn't quite say that. If near a mall, workplace, park, or nightclub, I could see people plugging in.
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