Laura Spanjian

Transportation Nation

Houston's Electric Car Drivers Have a New Place to Power Up

Thursday, March 08, 2012

The eVgo Freedom Station at Memorial City Mall in Houston. (Photo courtesy of eVgo via Flickr)

Jimmy Sauers was the first person in Texas to take delivery of a Nissan Leaf electric vehicle. "Both my wife and I are engineers," he said, "and so we were very meticulous about doing cost-benefit analysis." Sauers uses his Leaf to drive from his home in Seabrook to his job in downtown Houston. That's about a 75-mile round trip. He charges his vehicle at home and on the road.  So how much money have they saved? "In 13 months, based on the miles I've driven," he said, "it's been about $3,000 dollars."

Sauers was one of the electric car drivers on hand for the unveiling of a new charging station at Memorial City Mall, just off I-10 in west Houston. The charging station is operated by the eVgo company, a subsidiary of NRG Energy.  Electric car drivers can use the station as much as they want for a monthly fee.  They can add about 50 miles of range in a 15-minute charge. Laura Spanjian, the sustainability director for the City of Houston, said the new station will be a huge benefit to drivers along the I-10 corridor. "It will give them the confidence," she said, "that if they do need a little more electricity to power their car, they can quickly get off the freeway."

Spanjian said the city is encouraging the use of electric vehicles by teaming up with private partners to install charging stations around the city.  She's hoping drivers will see hundreds of new stations by the end of the year. "There's been statistics out there that say that by 2020, fifteen percent of the cars on the road will be electric."

The city of Houston is also adding to its fleet of electric vehicles.  Spanjian said the city will soon have about 40 electric cars, one of the largest alternative fleets in the country.

To listen to this story, visit KUHF.


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Transportation Nation

Houston to Get Bike Share

Friday, September 10, 2010

(Houston -- Wendy Siegle, KUHF) The City of Houston will launch a bike share program "early next year" city Sustainability Director Laura Spanjian tells KUHF. The city was awarded $423,000 by the federal EPA to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. The city will also use the grant to increase its electric car infrastructure. The full story, here.

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