Support for 1 Million Electric Vehicles

In a draft plan released last month, the Texas Department of Transportation came up with a five-year plan to create a network of chargers throughout the state, starting along main corridors and interstate highways before building stations in rural areas. With $408 million in federal funds, the plan calls for electric vehicle charging stations every 50 miles along most non-business interstate routes. In most other areas in the state, the plan is to distribute charging stations that are around 70 miles apart. Each station is designed to have multiple stalls so it is less likely consumers would have to wait in line.

Kevin Douglass, former president, and current communications officer with the Houston Electric Auto Association, is happy about the plan.

“It’s great,” Douglass said. “We already really have the infrastructure in place for the demand that we have, but as more and more people transition to driving electric vehicles there will be more demand for it.”

Douglass has been driving an electric vehicle for the past 20 years and said he transitioned for a few reasons.

“I like the technology aspect, I like the being a good steward aspect and the economic aspect is phenomenal,” he said.

Douglass said the 17,000 miles he drove last year cost him $360 in electricity. With record gas prices across the country, that’s an incentive a lot of people could get revved up about.

The chargers will be high-powered at 150kW, able to bring most electric vehicles from 10% to 80% in about half an hour, according to the report.

The funding is coming from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed last year, which is estimated to allocate about $408 million over five years to Texas for the purpose of expanding its electric vehicle charging network. No funds from the state budget will be used. Nationally, the goal is to create a network of 500,000 convenient and reliable electric vehicle chargers by 2030. In total from the infrastructure act, Texas is expected to receive about $35.44 billion over five years for roads, bridges, pipes, ports, broadband access and other projects.

Less than 1% of Texans’ registered vehicles are electric. As of May 31, there were 129,010 electric vehicles registered in Texas, according to the report.

“However, since 2020, the total number of electric vehicles across Texas has nearly tripled as more people adopt the technology,” TxDOT stated in its report. “With rapidly growing adoption rates, it is necessary to ensure Texas will be able to meet the demand of these new vehicles on the road.”

The state is gathering public comment on the plan, after which it will be finalized. To receive the funds, TxDOT must submit a finalized plan by Aug. 1 to the Federal Highway Administration.

Officials plan to award contracts for construction starting in January.

During the first year of implementation, Texas plans to add around 48 new locations to satisfy the 50-mile FHWA requirement. This is in addition to 27 existing private sector locations and 26 planned locations funded by a separate grant.

The next year, the focus will turn to stations in rural counties, small urban areas and areas advised by metropolitan planning organizations.

After that, during the third through fifth year of implementation, Texas will continue building out charging infrastructure in smaller and rural areas. The report states that charging stations might be equipped with a combination of solar and battery equipment to supplement their power supplies.

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