With regard to charging infrastructure, the Houston currently has 57 installed chargers.   -  Photo: City of Houson

With regard to charging infrastructure, the Houston currently has 57 installed chargers. 

Photo: City of Houson

Despite national supply chain issues and inflationary pressure, the City of Houston has made significant strides in implementing electric vehicles (EVs) in its municipal fleet, marking a notable milestone.

Currently, the Texas city has 421 EVs, including 333 hybrid and 88 battery EVs. The city anticipates the delivery of 67 battery-electric pickups, 20 hybrid-electric pickups, and 21 hybrid-electric SUVs by year-end. Within the next twelve months, they also expect 27 battery-electric SUVs and 13 battery-electric pickups.

Efforts are underway to secure grants for additional electric vehicles.

Following a Climate Action Plan to Reduce Emissions

The Houston Climate Action Plan is driving the transition to electric vehicles. The plan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, enhance climate resilience, achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, and lead the global energy transition. By 2030, the goal is to convert all non-emergency, light-duty municipal vehicles to electric power.

Houston has partnered with Evolve Houston, a public-private partnership involving CenterPoint, NRG, Shell, and the University of Houston, to accelerate the adoption of EVs. The objective is to achieve 50% electric vehicle sales by 2030 and assess the need for EV charging infrastructure at a regional level.

According to Evolve Houston, 9% of newly registered cars in the City were EVs in 2022, surpassing the national average by 2.5%.

Currently, the city operates 57 chargers, including two DC fast chargers. A contract was approved with Siemens to purchase 144 level 2 battery chargers. Installation of 15 chargers at the Houston Health Department's Stadium Dr. location will begin in two weeks. However, supply chain issues have affected the availability of electrical components for charger installations.

Consideration of Mobile Charging Solutions

The city's Fleet Management Department, in collaboration with the Mayor's Office of Resilience and Sustainability, is evaluating a potential mobile charging solution as an interim measure. They are also exploring opportunities for home charging of vehicles used by emergency response employees.

Home charging can reduce installation costs and enhance the city's resilience by utilizing a distributed grid.

Mayor Sylvester Turner emphasized the importance of electrification in Houston's climate action plan, considering that nearly half of the city's carbon emissions come from transportation, particularly single occupancy vehicles. He expressed confidence in achieving their goals.

Houston continues its progress in 2023 through public-private partnerships like the Hertz Electrifies Houston initiative, which plans to introduce over 2,100 rental EVs to the city.

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