Houston Electric Car Drivers Have a New Place to Power Up

Electric car drivers along the Katy Freeway now have a new place to charge their vehicles, and city officials hope there are many more to come.

Jimmy Sauers was the first person in Texas to take delivery of a Nissan Leaf electric vehicle.

"Both my wife and I are engineers and so we were very meticulous about doing cost-benefit analysis."

One of the eVgo charging stations being installed at Memorial City MallSauers 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, 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 at Gessner 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.  City of Houston Sustainability Director Laura Spanjian says the new station will be a huge benefit to drivers along the I-10 corridor.

"It will give them the confidence, that if they do need a little more electricity to power their car, they can quickly get off the freeway."

Spanjian says 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 says the city will soon have about 40 electric cars, one of the largest alternative fleets in the country.

Bio photo of Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

Gail Delaughter joined KUHF in October 2008 as Saturday morning news anchor and host. A native of New Orleans and a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University, Gail has extensive experience in Texas and Louisiana as a radio news reporter and morning show anchor and co-host...