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Oil City Houston Nurtures Electric Cars With City Wide Charging Stations

November 23, 2010 ( - The oil capital of the country, the city of Houston, is planning to make it easy for its residents to own electric cars by streamlining the permitting of home charging stations and allowing electric vehicles to use the HOV lanes.

The city will also provide free or reduced-cost charging stations to motorists who drive the gasoline-electric Chevrolet Volt or the all-electric Nissan Leaf, and issue permits for installation of home charging stations within 24 hours.

Mayor Annise Parker announced the city's intent to support the use of electric vehicles in conjuction with NRG Energy's plans for a citywide electric vehicle charging system.

NRG Energy, based in Princeton, NJ is a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 Company that owns and operates one of the country's largest and most diverse power generation portfolios. Their power plants provide more than 24,000 megawatts of generation capacity and include nuclear, wind, solar, natural gas and coal.

"I recognize that Houston is a car city," the mayor said. "But let's make sure if you have a particular type of car you want to drive, and it's an electric vehicle, let's make sure it's supported."

150 Charging Stations Planned

eVgo Charging Station

The NRG network, known as eVgo, will begin with 150 charging stations throughout the city at retailers and offices.

Walgreens will have the eVgo Charging Stations at 18 of its Houston stores, Best Buy will have charging stations at 10 of its stores, and HEB will have charging stations at 10 of its HEB or Central Market Stores.

Fifty of the public stations will be rapid chargers that can charge a vehicle fully in about 30 minutes. The other 100 chargers can do a full charge in about four hours.

In addition, NRG will also install 240-volt charging systems in electric vehicle owners' homes if they agree to sign up for a three-year, $49-per-month plan. NRG estimates the chargers and installation can cost around $2,000 if consumers purchase the equipment themselves.

The city is also aiming to add another 65 EV charging stations throughout the city, 45 of them open to the public. These will complement 10 opened last November with the help of retail electric provider Reliant Energy, an NRG subsidiary.

"If we can think of anything to help promote the movement of EV adoption, we'll do it," Parker said.

Source: Houston Chronicle