Perry Says Texas Drivers Should Think Electric

By ANGELA K. BROWN Associated Press

ARLINGTON (AP) – In a state where the oil and gas industry is king, the arrival of electric vehicles and building the charging infrastructure have jolted the public’s perception about Texas, Gov. Rick Perry said Friday.

“Here in Texas, we don’t just talk about it. We’re doing something about it,” Perry said in Arlington at an energy company’s event, later joking that most people probably would not have associated Texas with emission-free vehicles.

But it’s “what they should have been thinking,” he said.

Texas already has dozens of charging stations in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and some suburbs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels & Advanced Vehicles Data Center. Drivers can plug their cars into docking stations at various places — including Houston City Hall, a hotel near Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, a San Antonio Church and even the Dell Computers headquarters near Austin.

All electric cars can be charged at those slower charging stations that add power in about four to eight hours, depending on the size and life left in the battery, industry officials said. But electric cars are still fairly new, and some attribute slow sales to the vehicles’ high costs and use limited to short trips.

On Friday, NRG Energy said its new station at a drug store in Dallas is the state’s first fast-charging station, which can be used by some of the vehicles and has a recharger with a 480-volt direct current that can add 30 miles of range to an electric car in as few as 10 minutes. NRG plans to install 70 of the stations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and another 50 in the Houston area by the end of next year, a privately funded project with AeroVironment, which designed and produced the charging stations.

“It’s not like you’re going to Walgreen’s and spend eight hours, but when you leave you’re more charged,” said Kristen Helsel, a vice president at AeroVironment.

NRG’s chief executive David Crane said that while Texas is known as the oil and gas capital, “There’s nothing that was announced today that’s going to change that … and that’s not all that Texas is. Now it’s time for electric vehicles.”

The Lone Star State is joining the rest of the nation in promoting the adoption of electric vehicles — especially as the national average for regular unleaded gasoline rose to $3.71 a gallon over the past week, according to AAA.

Also in Houston, the city has its own program through a partnership with Reliant Energy. Ten charging stations have been up and running for about a year, and 25 more are being installed, said Laura Spanjian, the city’s sustainability director.

Houston also is buying electric cars for the city’s fleet and has received federal stimulus money for another 30 charging stations to serve those municipal vehicles, she said. The first, a Nissan Leaf, is expected to arrive in the next week or two.

“We would have the first electric car of any city fleet in Texas,” Spanjian said.

Austin was one of nine cities that benefitted from a federal program that enables the city to get up to 200 charging stations, as long as they install 100 by the end of this summer. The city has already put in about a dozen, said Carlos Cordova, spokesman for Austin Energy, the city-owned electric utility.

He said Austin is predicting there will be about 150 electric vehicles on city roads this year and maybe another 150 next year — but up to 36,000 electric vehicles by 2020.

“It will develop slowly,” Cordova said, noting that projections are based on research conducted by the Electric Power Research Institute.

Some cities and states offer rebates to encourage buying electric vehicles Those displayed at the Arlington Convention Center on Friday were the Toyota Prius PHV, Chevrolet Volt, VIA Truck, Tesla Roadster, Smart fortwo EV, Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Nissan Leaf.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


One Comment

  1. Texas Technoman says:

    Two questions mr Gubner: 1. Where are the charging stations? 2. Is the limo that takes you from your mansion to work (those days that you do actually do some work) electric?

  2. Glen Wilson says:

    I am so sick of the electric car BS. Oil generates the electricity that powers these POS.

    Give it up.

    1. Texas Technoman says:

      Actually it’s natural gas…but there is a great article on the web about the new GM electric car….bottom line, you (and the planet) are better off getting something that is gas / diesel that gets equal or better mileage!



  4. A Random Thought says:

    We need to think about two main things first before we go hog wild over “the wonders of the electric car.”
    1. What will we do when the summers get too hot or the winters too cold and we end up with rolling brownouts to conserve electricity? These cars aren’t able to just fill up at a station in 15 mins with small amounts of energy, it takes a LOT of both time and energy to fill them up for their puddle jumps. These cars will be stuck.
    2. Is it really worth it knowing that current battery technology is a toxic acid, not able to have a good energy density, and has a very short lifespan. 500-1000 charge cycles. When you’re talking about a daily powerhog, you’re talking about using those batteries up quick. Replacement of those batteries will not be cheap either.
    We need to think before we jump all in.

  5. SocialStrain says:

    Don’t worry, apathy will keep people from their highest and best.

    When things get too easy, hard change leads to hard falls. Hopefully the next rise up will bring a better breed.

  6. VDawn says:

    Dear Mr. Perry, where do you think we can come up with $40,000+ to buy an electric car?
    Your State is bankrupt enough it’s slashing everything including paychecks and jobs.
    Talk about high insurance rates on something most might end up having wrecked before they ever get it paid off, except for you playboys that have created the mess we are in.
    How about you make your thrown out of the first batch of used up batteries.
    Look before you leap, you’ve done enough damage to this State.
    I’ll wait until they come up with something much cheaper and more environmentally friendly.
    Good thing about you, I know anything you promote is a 100% bad deal for mankind.

  7. billy says:

    One thing is for sure….IF……ricky “bobby” perry is promoting it….he’s gonna make something off of it…His hand is NEVER far away from the taxpayer cookie jar!!!

  8. Rick McDaniel says:

    They are going to have to become a lot more practical, than they are now.

    For now, hybrid is the only practical solution, even though you are still primarily burning gas.

    Cars that have to have an 8 hour charge, every 40-50 miles, just aren’t going to get the job done.

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