Electric vehicle owners in the Dallas/Fort Worth area can now stop to “fuel up,” so to speak. Over the weekend, NRG Energy, Inc., opened the first privately funded eVgo (ee-vee-go) Freedom Station at a Dallas Walgreens. The station includes the first high-speed direct current (DC) charger in Texas, which is among the first in the nation.
NRG plans to install a total of 70 Freedom Stations in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and 50 in Houston by the end of 2012, with half in place by this summer. NRG also plans to set up stations along the Interstate 45 corridor, connecting the two cities, in 2012.
Each Freedom Station provides a 480-volt DC fast charger that can add 30 miles of range in as little as 10 minutes and a 240-volt Level 2 charger that can add up to 25 miles of range in an hour. Freedom Stations are available 24/7 and include a customer-service tower with a mounted camera, giving customers access to an eVgo service representative or a strobe light, siren and law-enforcement alert, even from inside their vehicles. The eVgo network will also include Convenience Stations that offer a 240-volt Level 2 charger available during the retail host’s business hours.
“In an area of 6.5 million people, air quality is always a primary concern,” says Mike Eastland, executive director of the North Central Texas Council of Governments. “NRG’s eVgo network is a welcome complement to NCTCOG’s Electric Vehicles North Texas program, and we truly appreciate our public- and private-sector partners that have been and continue to be instrumental in preparing the region for electric vehicles.”
Electric vehicles powered by electricity generated from domestic fuels, including wind and nuclear power in Texas, have the potential over time to dramatically reduce America’s greenhouse-gas emissions. According to the EPA, transportation contributed to about 27 percent of U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions in 2008, and the sector continues to be the fastest-growing source of emissions. In most Texas cities, transportation is the largest single source of nitrogen-oxide emissions.
Electric vehicle owners in eVgo cities can sign up for NRG’s “home-and-away” charging plans for a flat monthly fee. NRG will install and maintain the region’s charging infrastructure of home chargers and public fast-charging stations located along major freeways and in key shopping and business districts.
“Electric vehicle ownership should be fun, affordable and convenient, with drivers having complete confidence that a fast charger is never more than a few miles away,” says Arun Banskota, president of NRG’s electric vehicle services division.
NRG is working with the North Texas electricity transmission and distribution company Oncor on zone planning and site selection for the eVgo charging stations in Dallas/Fort Worth to ensure accessibility and reliability. Oncor will install more than 1.5 million advanced meters and construct 850 miles of transmission lines to supply power to the charging stations, says Jim Greer, Oncor’s senior vice president of asset management and engineering.
“By 2012, our investments will enable more than 3 million homes and businesses in Oncor’s service area to use electric-vehicle charging technology, such as the NRG eVgo network, when renewable energy availability is highest and the cost of electricity is lowest,” he says.