Houston will be home to the nation's first electric vehicle charging ecosystem. Just what is an electric vehicle charging ecosystem? It's a network of charging stations for electric vehicles strategically setup across the Houston area.
These charging stations will be installed along major freeways, shopping centers, business districts, and some major retailers.
The name of this network is eVgo, set up by NRG Energy. The main purpose of these stations is to promote the use of electric vehicles by offering a place where EV owners can recharge their vehicle when battery power is running low.
Through a fixed-monthly rate plan, eVgo customers can charge up their EV's on the road or at home -- with an at-home, installed charging station. Most homes are only equipped with 110V electric sockets in the garage or near the driveway -- which will take anywhere from eight to 12 hours to fully charge an EV with a 100-mile range.
The at-home charging station from eVgo will come equipped with a 240V charger, cutting your charge time in half. It'll give an EV 25 miles per charging hour. The charging stations setup across the city will also have the 240V capability, known as a Level 2 charge. They'll also have a DC charging option, which according to eVgo, will give customers 30 mile charge per 10 minutes.
"The new age of personal transportation begins here in Houston," said David Crane, president and CEO of NRG Energy. "NRG's eVgo offerings will allow Houston EV owners to drive with complete range confidence and cost certainty, immune to spikes in the price of gasoline or the other limitations of conventional car ownership."
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On board with eVgo's network are major retailers, such as Best Buy, H-E-B, Spec's, and Walgreens. Each retailer will have charging stations at certain locations around town -- including H-E-B's Central Market and Spec's Midtown on Smith Street.
Hertz Car Rentals plans on adding EV's to their Houston fleet; and they've committed to adding eVgo stations on their car's GPS systems, so customers can know where to charge up.
eVgo eventually plans on expanding outside of Houston into Texas's other major cities. In what it calls the "Texas Triangle," eVgo hopes to setup in Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio -- setting stations not just in the cities, but along the highways in between.
The dawn of electric cars is in front of us, and Houston will lead the nation towards an independence from foreign oil, supporters say.