AUSTIN (KXAN) — Forget pain at the pump. In parts of Central Texas, you’ll have to search harder for the EV charger.
“It’s pretty slim, to be honest, I drive from Houston to here every week and there’s not a lot of chargers,” said Sai Krishnachitneni from Houston.
EV chargers are rated levels 1 through 3, from slowest to charge to fastest.
When you pull up at a charging station you’ll typically find two types of plugs the CHADeMo and the CCS. There is a third type of plug, but that charges only Tesla vehicles.
A slower charge may work well for an overnight fill-up, but a faster charger may be required if you live somewhere without one, like an apartment.
KXAN mapped the availability of level 2 and 3 chargers here in Central Texas looking for EV charging deserts, or areas lacking charging availability.
We found that these deserts are primarily in Austin’s suburbs.
Drivers say this lack of infrastructure can make the switch to an electric vehicle a hard sell.
“There can definitely be more. Without a home charger, it’ll be very difficult. There are a lot of small maybe level 1 or level 2 chargers available, but…with the level 3 charger we could really use a lot more,” said John Sandage from Killeen.
The City of Hutto just got its first public electric charging station, but it’s a Tesla supercharger.
Non-Tesla drivers have to drive out of town to boost their battery.
According to Ashley Lumpkin, development services director with the City of Hutto, “it is really more market-driven than city driven.”
Lumpkin says that, for now, the city has left its EV charging infrastructure up to the private sector, — a policy that may not last much longer.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is set to restart a $12 million incentive program this spring. This will, in part, pay for up to 50% of the cost of new chargers and they’re specifically targeting these EV charging deserts in the application process.
“As we review those applications we’re scoring them and we’re scoring them on critical factors and one of those factors, one of the primary factors is looking for stations that are not going to be located near other similar stations,” said Nate Hickman, technical specialist in the air grants division with TCEQ.
The higher the need in your city, the more likely these discounted chargers get installed.
Incentives are also available for home chargers, the most convenient way to fill up and go green.
Until new chargers are installed, what can you do if you’re planning to get an EV?
Check out the interactive maps above to find out how close a charger is to where you live and work.
See if the car you’re buying is eligible for TCEQ rebates.
Apply for TCEQ incentives for an at-home charger. The program will restart this spring.