The Houston Drives Electric launch event at the Buffalo Speedway H-E-B Thursday morning drew a buzzing crowd to examine the brand new eVgo charging station installed in the grocer's parking lot. The charging station, which includes one of the company's only rapid-charge stations and can give electric car-drivers a 50-mile boost in just 15 minutes, is just the first of similar charging stations to come to Houston-area H-E-B stores, including the newest location underway at West Alabama and Dunlavy, according to H-E-B spokesperson Cyndy Garza-Roberts.
The event celebrated Houston's electric car initiatives, and showcased the city's two new Nissan Leafs as well as a host of other electric and hybrid vehicles surrounding the tented press conference. Sustainability director Laura Spanjian, whose pregnancy has not slowed her one bit, told the crowd that Houston residents can expect to have access to 250 public electric charging stations by the end of 2012. The Houston Arboretum was one of the first public locations to install an electric charging station in July. The new Flite Banking Center has one as well.
Several manufacturers were on-hand, including Gridbot, which is installing a bank of 28 charging stations in the garage beneath Tranquility Park to charge the city's municipal vehicles — the largest such station in the United States, according to Gridbot vice president Chris Herbert. That downtown bank will be capable of charging 56 vehicles simultaneously, which is important for the City of Houston's growing fleet of electric vehicles.
"Innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit have long-defined Houston," Parker said in her opening remarks. "Oil and gas will continue to be incredibly important for the foreseeable future, but there's another future out there as well."
Two all-electric Nissan Leafs have joined the city's municipal fleet, which will increase its electric and hybrid plug-in car count to 40 by the end of 2012, said Mayor Annise Parker. She added the Nissan Leafs are the first all-electric municipal vehicles in Texas.
"Innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit have long-defined Houston," Parker said in her opening remarks. "Oil and gas will continue to be incredibly important for the foreseeable future, but there's another future out there as well. The City wants to make sure to lead by example."
Twenty-eight public charging stations have been pledged throughout Houston's parks and libraries thanks to grant money (in addition to the 28 that will charge the city's municipal fleet), and Houston-based eVgo plans to install an additional 50 stations, including the one at H-E-B, by the end of 2012.