Central Texas Loves Plug-In Vehicles

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 12

Austin, Texas is Home to Loads of Plug-Ins

Austin, Texas is Home to Loads of Plug-Ins

Steve Late with BMW of Austin recently stated:

i3 =to Launch in Austin First?

i3 to Launch in Austin First?

 

“BMW’s done their homework, and they’ve determined that this is the second largest market in the United States for registrations of electric and hybrid vehicles.”

Austin?  Really?

We’re doubtful that the i3 will actually launch first in Austin, but we do know that the Central Texas region is one of the hottest areas in the US for plug-in vehicle sales.

The Austin area is home to 170 public charging stations, which in turn has pushed up plug-in sales.  Karl Popham of Austin Energy (operator of the majority of the stations) says that the cheap cost of charging is really catching on:

Map of Some of the Chargers in Texas

Map of Some of the Chargers in Texas

“Every major manufacturer either has an electric vehicle or is coming out with one.  Our customers appreciate the flat fee price – under five bucks a month, unlimited fill ups. People like that.”

How’s this for proof that plug-in vehicles are popular in Central Texas: Popham says more than 20,000 charge events have occurred on public chargers in the area over the last 18 months.

Popham notes that most charging is and always will be done at home:

“A lot of folks, they just plug into the regular outlet. You don’t need a special charging station at home.  If you decide to do faster charging, Austin Energy does have home rebates for that.”

And the public charging infrastructure in Texas continues to expand daily.  There’s now a massive regional effort underway to build out the charging infrastructure in both Georgetown and San Antonio.. The end goal is to eventually charge up all urban areas across the state.

Why the massive push?  Here’s what Popham says:

“It’s no longer a niche market.”

No longer niche might be a stretch, but we get it…plug-in vehicles are become increasingly popular as time goes by.

Source: Austin YNN

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12 responses to "Central Texas Loves Plug-In Vehicles"

  1. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

    Don’t look so surprised.. As of 2011, Austin has more people than San Francisco, and San Antonio’s bigger than San Diego..

  2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

    Also, Austin
    – is a blue city
    – has a young population
    – is a technology growth center for Texas.

    Put those together and you have high PEV sales.

  3. vdiv says:

    Yeah, just to note most of the public charging stations in Austin are $2 min, $2/hr. With a 3.3 kW charger that is a pretty penny to pay for the convenience. So it is not really the public charging infrastructure that is so conducive to plugin adoption as others have said. It is the young, educated, tech-minded, and reasonably and relatively well-paid folks that live there.

    Damn it, may be I want to live there too! 🙂

    1. MTN Ranger says:

      Didn’t the article mention that the power company (which owns most of the charging stations) offers a “flat fee price – under five bucks a month, unlimited fill ups.”

    2. James says:

      Um, only if you do not have the City of Austin CP card… then it is $25 for 6 months of UNLIMITED charging.

      1. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

        Indeed, I’ve been on that plan since late 2011, so far so good!

  4. Michael says:

    Maybe this will help push public opinion in Texas and help Tesla with their pending anti-dealer legislation. One can hope, right?

    1. David Murray says:

      Doubt it. I live in Ft.Worth and 80% of people around here still don’t even realize such a thing as an electric car even exists.

    2. Josh says:

      Every Texan I have talked to (I live here) is impressed with Tesla and the Model S. It is the auto dealers that are not so fond of them.

      I agree with David, I still run into people that don’t believe me when I say, ” there is no gas tank in my car. “

  5. James says:

    Things that make Austin great for plug ins:

    1) An aggressive campaign by the city utility to sponsor charging stations around town. They were covering several thousand dollars of the cost to put one in and then making the electricity available for free or discounted rates. Any of the city ‘installed’ stations have to be publicly accessible and have a silly $2/hr rate, but if you sign up for the city’s ChargePoint card, you get unlimited charging for $25/6 months. The city will even sell those $25 cards to car dealers in bulk at a cheaper rate to hand out to new PHEV and EV buyers.

    2) City rebate to install a L2 charging station at home of 50% up to a max amount. When you toss in the federal rebate of 30%, why wouldn’t you put in a L2 charger? It seems car dealers aren’t really aware of these two programs or they mention them.

    3) Ford requires that one of the two L2 chargers a dealer needs to get to be ‘certified’ be publicly available. As it happens two are on my way to places I go so I hit them up for short charges while I read in the showroom. Ok, so I HAVE a Ford PHEV, but I’m sure the Leafs and PIPs get to charge at their dealers too. I’ve not tried Honda/Toyota/Nissan to charge, but that might be a little pushy to try.

    4) WalMart’s are putting in L2 chargers. Could be a plus or minus depending on your view.

    5) Friends are still intrigued enough to let me L1 charge at their houses and I always offer the $1 to cover the power.

    6) We read about snow… in Dallas.

    Result: 3300 miles on 1.25 of a tank of gas.

  6. Loboc says:

    Pecan Street is in Austin. 100 Volts in one community.

  7. Rick Danger says:

    Ironic that the one car with the range to travel between most Texas cities can’t even open a store there.