A Guide to Texas’ Growing Network of Charging Stations

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A Guide to Texas' Growing Network of Charging Stations

The adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) has been steadily rising across the United States and Texas as concerns over climate change and high gas prices drive consumer demand. As more drivers make the switch to EVs, there is a growing need for adequate EV charging infrastructure to support these vehicles.

Texas currently has over 5,000 public EV charging stations installed across the state. The number of charging stations has rapidly expanded in recent years, though there are still gaps in coverage across rural areas and along major highway routes. Most charging stations are concentrated in metro areas like Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.

While Texas has made progress on EV infrastructure compared to other states, more charging stations are needed to provide convenient charging options and encourage further EV adoption. The state government has provided grants and incentives to support the build-out of charging stations. Companies like Tesla, EVgo, ChargePoint and Electrify America have also invested significantly in Texas.

This article provides an overview of the current state of EV charging in Texas, including the number, locations and types of charging stations available. It also covers the costs to charge at public stations and the policy efforts underway to expand charging infrastructure across the state.

Number of EV Charging Stations

Texas has over 5,000 public electric vehicle (EV) charging stations statewide as of 2022. This ranks Texas 4th among U.S. states in total number of EV charging stations.

The top 5 metro areas for EV charging in Texas are:

  • Dallas-Fort Worth area – over 1,000 stations
  • Houston area – over 800 stations
  • Austin area – over 500 stations
  • San Antonio area – over 300 stations
  • El Paso area – over 200 stations

California leads the nation with over 13,000 EV charging stations, followed by New York (over 3,500) and Florida (over 2,500). While Texas has a robust charging network, there is room for growth to match the state’s large size, population, and adoption of EVs.

Types of EV Charging Stations

There are three main types of electric vehicle charging stations in Texas – Level 1, Level 2, and DC Fast Charging.

Level 1

Level 1 charging stations provide charging through a 120V AC plug and require a dedicated 15 or 20-amp circuit. They typically provide 2 to 5 miles of range per hour of charging. Level 1 is the slowest charging option but requires no additional charging equipment beyond the cordset that comes with the EV. It can be used with a regular wall outlet.

Level 2

Level 2 charging stations operate on a 240V AC plug and require a dedicated 40-amp circuit. They provide 10 to 20 miles of range per hour of charging. Level 2 stations require purchasing and installing a charging unit. This is the most commonly used public charging option.

DC Fast Charging

DC fast charging stations provide the fastest charging option by converting AC power to DC power. They operate on 480V AC input and require a dedicated 60-amp circuit. DC fast chargers can add 60 to 80 miles of range in 20 minutes of charging. However, they are also the most expensive charging option. Cars must have a CHAdeMO or SAE combo connector to use DC fast charging.

Charging Station Locations

The distribution of EV charging locations across Texas is concentrated around major metropolitan areas like Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, as well as along major highway corridors. This allows EV drivers convenient access for daily commuting and long distance travel.

However, large swaths of rural Texas still lack adequate charging infrastructure. West Texas and the Panhandle region are particularly underserved. This creates “charging deserts” that can make EV ownership challenging in those areas. Studies show rural drivers are more anxious about running out of charge without a station nearby.

Some of the most well-covered charging routes criss-cross Texas, including I-10, I-20, I-30 and I-35. Stations are abundant near popular tourist destinations like Big Bend National Park, South Padre Island and Galveston. Major airports also have charging available.

While urban EV drivers enjoy plentiful charging options, rural areas require significant infrastructure investment to reach coverage parity. Strategic placements along rural highways and smaller population centers would greatly improve EV accessibility.

Charging Station Operators

The electric vehicle charging station landscape in Texas features a mix of major nationwide operators as well as local utilities, municipalities, and private companies.

Some of the major charging networks operating in Texas include:

  • ChargePoint – One of the largest EV charging networks in the world, with over 5,000 public charging spots across Texas. ChargePoint stations can be found at retail locations, workplaces, airports, and more.
  • Electrify America – This Volkswagen-subsidiary is rapidly expanding in Texas, with plans to install over 650 charging stations along major highways by the end of 2022.
  • EVgo – A nationwide DC fast charging operator with over 140 charging locations in Texas. Many sites feature charging speeds over 100kW.
  • Tesla Superchargers – Tesla operates over 40 Supercharger sites in Texas exclusively for Tesla vehicles. These stations allow for rapid charging.

Local Texas operators are also major players, such as:

  • Austin Energy – The municipal utility provides over 300 public Level 2 charging ports around Austin.
  • NRG eVgo – This subsidiary of NRG Energy, based in Houston and Princeton, owns and operates numerous charging sites across Texas.
  • H-E-B – The grocery chain offers free EV charging at select store locations.

Various other site hosts like hotels, restaurants, retailers, office buildings, and public parking garages also provide charging access. Drivers can monitor availability and pricing using apps like PlugShare.

Charging Costs

The cost to charge your electric vehicle can vary significantly depending on the charging station network and membership plan. Generally, there are two pricing models – pay per use (per kWh) and monthly membership plans.

For pay per use charging, the cost is typically $0.30-$0.50 per kWh. Some networks like ChargePoint and EVGo offer slightly lower per kWh rates if you pay a monthly membership fee. For example, with ChargePoint’s $4.95 monthly plan, the cost goes down to $0.25-0.35 per kWh.

When it comes to membership plans, the fees range from $4.95 per month to $19.95 per month. These plans allow you to get discounted charging rates, usually around $0.15-0.25 per kWh. The more expensive membership plans tend to include unlimited charging sessions per month.

Comparing the major networks:

  • ChargePoint: $0.43 per kWh, or $0.25 per kWh with $4.95 monthly plan
  • EVGo: $0.34 per kWh, or $0.27 per kWh with $7.99 monthly plan
  • Electrify America: $0.31 per kWh, or $0.25 per kWh with $4 monthly plan
  • Volta: Free charging for up to 2 hours per session
  • Blink: $0.39 per kWh, discounts with $4.99 monthly plan

So in summary, public charging costs can vary quite a bit but are typically in the $0.25 to $0.50 per kWh range depending on the network and plan. Membership plans can reduce the per kWh costs, with unlimited plans offering the best value for frequent users.

Public Policy and Funding

The growth of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Texas has been aided by supportive public policies and funding initiatives at both the state and federal level.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) offers grants through the Texas Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Program to install DC fast charging stations along major transportation corridors in the state. These grants help expand fast charging options for EV drivers undertaking longer trips.

At the federal level, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed in 2021 provides $5 billion in funding for states to build out EV charging networks. Texas is expected to receive $407 million over five years to support EV infrastructure expansion. The federal government also offers an EV charging tax credit of 30% (up to $30,000) for the installation of charging equipment.

In addition to direct funding programs, Texas has implemented policies and regulations to enable and encourage EV adoption. The state allows private companies to sell electricity at EV charging stations, bypassing the need to work with utilities. There are also no special licensing requirements to operate charging stations in Texas.

These policy incentives have played an important role in the buildout of EV infrastructure across the state. As EV sales continue to grow, further policy support and public investment will likely be needed to ensure charging accessibility keeps pace with consumer demand.

Future Outlook

The future of EV charging infrastructure in Texas looks promising, though not without challenges.

As EV adoption rises, the demand for charging stations will grow exponentially. Current projections estimate there will be over 1 million EVs on Texas roads by 2030, up from around 115,000 in 2021. Meeting this charging demand will require massive infrastructure build-out. Installing EV chargers is costly, ranging from $300-$100,000 per port depending on the type and power level.

Texas will need billions in public and private investment to scale its charging networks. Areas outside major cities and along highway corridors will be especially underserved and require priority infrastructure spending.

Managing increased strain on the power grid is another concern. As more EVs plug in, utilities will need to upgrade capacity to avoid outages. Smart charging technology can mitigate grid impact by balancing charging times.

While expanding charging access won’t be seamless, Texas is positioned to adapt. Pro-EV policies, public funding programs, and the state’s deregulated energy market provide advantages for scaling networks. With strategic planning and continued investment, Texas can build out the charging infrastructure needed for mass EV adoption.

Key Takeaways

Electric vehicle usage and infrastructure is rapidly expanding in Texas. As of January 2023, Texas has over 5,000 public EV charging stations, with more being added each month. The majority of stations are Level 2 chargers which provide around 25 miles of range per hour of charging. Fast chargers, which can add 200+ miles of range per hour, are less common but growing in number.

Most charging stations are located in major metro areas like Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio, with lower availability in rural areas. Charging station operators include EVgo, ChargePoint, Electrify America, Volta, Tesla, and many utilities and municipalities.

Charging costs vary based on station operator and charging speed. Level 2 charging is typically $1-2 per hour, while DC fast charging ranges from $0.30-0.45 per minute. Some charging is free in certain locations.

Texas has provided grants and incentives to support EV infrastructure growth, though advocates say more policy support is still needed. With EVs projected to reach over 20% of auto sales in Texas by 2030, charging stations will need to expand to meet demand.

Further Reading

For more information on EV charging stations in Texas, check out the following resources:

  • Texas EV Infrastructure Plan – The state’s plan for expanding EV infrastructure, including details on funding, locations, and more.
  • Alternative Fuels Data Center – The U.S. Department of Energy’s guide to EV infrastructure and policy in Texas.
  • PlugShare – Database of public charging locations across Texas.
  • Electrify America – Details on Electrify America’s charging network expansion in Texas.
  • ChargePoint – Information on ChargePoint’s charging stations across the state.
  • EVgo – EVgo’s charging station locator and details on their Texas network.
  • Greenlots – Guide to Greenlots charging stations in Texas.
  • TxDOT – The Texas Department of Transportation’s EV and charging resources.
  • Local utility provider websites – Check your utility’s website for local charging incentives and programs.

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