Houston's Electric Vehicle Initiative

NIssan Electric Leaf Houston PluginIt's called Houston Drives Electric, a program the city is leading to implement clean and economic driving alternatives.  The HEB Buffalo Market in SW Houston is now home to the Freedom Station, the first public electric vehicle charging station.

Arun Banskota heads NRG Electric Vehicle Services, one of the partners in this effort. He says each Freedom Station offers room for two cars to charge simultaneously.

"What is very important is the one on the left is only one of two DC chargers, rapid chargers in the nation today. You plug in your car, walk inside HEB for 15 minutes, you get a 50 mile boost of range. It's a very rapid charger."
  
After spending 20 years in the oil and  gas industry, Mayor Annise Parker is now helping direct Houston on a variety of green initiatives in an effort to clean the air and save money. She too was on hand at the Freedom Station.

Mayor Annise Parker at press conference"The City of Houston recently purchased two Nissan Leafs, which are displayed here today. These are the first all electric municipal fleet vehicles in Texas. Another 23 electric vehicles will be added to the city's fleet by the year end, joining the 15 plug-in hybrids we already have in our fleet."

Houston is expanding its fleet of electric city vehicles, buying 30-cars with the help of the federal government.

Luke Metzger is director of Environment Texas, a citizen based environmental advocacy organization that works to shift to clean energy. He says Houston's green effort is impressive.

"Houston's worldwide known for being the oil capital of the world, so to make a big commitment to electric vehicles is very impressive, not just through words, but through financial investments. Buying electric cars for the city fleet, installing the charging stations, and bringing the utilities to the table and making this a major priority for the city I think is really impressive."

All told Houston, working with its partner ECOtality, will install 28-additional public charging stations at city libraries and parks. Another partner GRIDbot, will handle the installation of an additional 28 municipal charging stations in the parking garage underneath Tranquility Park, for the  fleet of city vehicles.

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