Charging stations for electric vehicles in Greater Houston area have increased over 30%, data shows

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Saturday, June 22, 2024
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HOUSTON, Texas -- The Greater Houston area has witnessed a notable increase in the establishment of public electric vehicle charging stations since 2012, with a rise of over 30% since last April, according to data from the U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center.

"We are seeing a notable increase in public EV charging projects," Casey Brown, president and executive director of nonprofit Evolve Houston, said in an email. "The increased deployment of charging stations over the past few years demonstrates demand for EVs in Houston, which really took off in the middle of 2021 and hasn't turned back since."

What you need to know

Since 2020, Houston has seen multiple plans aiming to lower community emissions, modernize infrastructure, and promote the adoption of electric vehicles among Houstonians. The available network of public charging stations has been propelled by initiatives such as the Texas Department of Transportation's Texas Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Plan.

TxDOT's plan launched in 2022, focused on expanding EV infrastructure in the state to support TxDOT's estimate of 1 million electric vehicles in Texas by 2031.

According to information from the plan, TxDOT officials aim to develop fast-charging stations at least every 50 miles along Electric Alternative Fuel Corridors, designated nonbusiness interstates, and every 70 miles in more rural areas, meaning Texans will see approximately 56 new charging station locations across the state.

Electric vehicle charging station growth over time, Houston

Meanwhile, the city of Houston launched the Climate Action Plan in 2020, setting a goal to convert municipal light-duty and non-emergency vehicles to 100% EV by 2030, including Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County and city airport buses. The Resilient Houston Plan, launched in the same year, is a city partnership with Evolve Houston to increase EVs to 30% of new car sales by 2030.

Additionally, the city of Houston applied for a federal grant from President Joe Biden's administration that would allocate $15 million to expand charging stations in underserved and low-income areas.

If the grant is approved, the plan for the grant money would see 366 chargers deployed at city-owned libraries, parks, and community centers across Houston, per the city's website.

What they're saying

Brown said he is confident in Houston as a growing landscape for EV owners. Evolve Houston works to expand electric vehicle adoption throughout the city.

"Houston's population diversity and density per square mile make it difficult to compare apples-to-apples to other major cities," Brown said. "What's important to note is that Houston has maintained excellent momentum going into 2024."

Brown said the city of Houston closed out 2023 with 14% of new vehicles registered being some form of electric vehicle. In addition, registration data from the Alternative Fuels Data Center shows the number of charging stations in Houston has more than doubled since January 2021.

Put in perspective

Among major Texas cities, Houston is behind only Austin in terms of registered EV charging stations.

However, Austin is surpassing Houston's number of charging stations per capita. With 393 registered EV charging stations in Houston, there are just over 17 charging stations per 100,000 people, based on 2020 population data from the U.S. Census Bureau. That's less than 27% of Austin's 63 charging stations per 100,000 people.

As of May 8, there were 275,717 registered electric vehicles in the state of Texas and 39,831 in Harris County alone, according to data from Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities and the North Central Texas Council of Governments. However, EVs account for only 1.17% of all registered vehicles in Houston, compared to Austin's 2.61%.

What else?

The Houston area's EV charging stations are centralized around major city highways, such as I-10 and Hwy. 59. There is also an emerging concentration of charging stations within the city's Inner Loop, focused in areas such as downtown, Montrose, and River Oaks.

Brown said Evolve Houston is focused on filling the gaps in EV charging stations.

"Our Regional Infrastructure Study for Electrification (R.I.S.E.) Report uncovered a lack of public EV charging in regions of low income," Brown said. "Part of our business is aimed at actively working to ensure EV charging becomes an equitable service for all Houstonians."

This article comes from our ABC13 partners at Community Impact Newspapers.