Is Texas ready for electric cars? Report card reveals issues in our future

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AUSTIN (KXAN) – With construction on Tesla’s Gigafactory less than a month away from completion, Austin will soon be the home to the future of electric vehicles. However, the rest of the state is not ready to go electric.

Earlier this year, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy released a state transportation electrification scorecard that ranked states’ efforts to promote electric vehicle usage.

“It’s exciting because we are in such a state of growth and excitement with the industry,” said Bryan Howard, the nonprofit’s state policy director. We evaluated six areas of state action from state legislatures, executives or governors and public utility commissions.”

Those six areas included: planning and goal setting, purchase incentives, transportation network efficiency (basically public transit), electrical grid optimization (if our power grids can support electric vehicles), equity and the total number of electric vehicles in a state.

“We want to actually see what’s been achieved in this process and so that we can have a better evaluation of our policies moving the mark,” Howard said.

California ranked No. 1, offering a slew of incentives to get people buying electric vehicles. 20 states did not do enough to make the list.

Texas ranked 27th.

The state made the list because of its electric vehicle purchase incentives, but the report found that Texas lacks the infrastructure to support those vehicles. And this isn’t a red state/blue state thing. Florida ranked higher than Texas, as well as several other red states.

“There is some regionalism about this, but a number of our ranked states on the scorecard have a Republican governor,” Howard said.

While states, like Florida, also lack the infrastructure to support electric vehicles, they have a plan in place to fix that. Texas does not have a plan on a statewide level.

“I think we’ve seen big and small states take some important steps in making sure the transportation system works better and is better planned and managed,” Howard said.

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