I'm a big fan of green technology, so I was quite pleased to hear that Houston plans on having the largest car charging network in the US. It's particularly interesting to hear since I've always looked at Texas as being a big oil state, and not so much the land of electric cars. The times are a-changing, though, it would seem.
This is being done by a company called NRG Energy, who plan to have 150 charging stations available within a 25 mile radius in Houston, most of which will be at common public areas like supermarkets, shopping malls, and , forth. The company will be asking customers who use the service to pay $89 per month which will also include the installation fee for a charger in their homes (where most charging usually takes place for an electric car). The company is plunking down $10 million to get the ball rolling on this project, and doesn't expect to make a profit in the early going, but does hope that the presence of such charging stations around Houston will get people more interested in electric cars.
My question is how many cars are actually available to the public en masse that could take advantage of these stations? There are plenty of hybrids out there, but full-on electric cars are either mostly still in development, or are small, relatively short range vehicles. For these chargers to really take off, we'll likely need to see a lot more cars become available that can use them. Hopefully these stations going up will also entice manufacturers to use Houston as a test center for future electric cars that they may want to release since there would already be a network of chargers in place.