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Austin Energy launches EV transportation hub

From the April 3, 2017 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published March 31, 2017

By Maria Valatkaite
Integrated Media and Communications Coordinator

Texas-based Austin Energy on March 27 cut the ribbon on Electric Drive, a transportation and charging hub aimed at supporting the city of Austin’s thriving electric vehicle infrastructure.

Located in downtown Austin, Electric Drive is powered entirely by renewable energy sources, Austin Energy said.

Austin Energy Electric Drive Ribbon Cutting 2Left to right: Karl Popham, Austin Energy Manager of Electric Vehicles and Emerging Technologies, Austin Mayor Steve Adler, Austin City Council Member Ann Kitchen, Austin Energy General Manager Jackie Sargent, and City of Austin Chief Sustainability Officer Lucia Athens

The hub offers dedicated parking for two electric vehicle charging stations, as well as a solar powered kiosk that can recharge electric bikes, motorcycles, and small electronics through integrated outlets and USB ports. The kiosk also provides shade during the day, as well as LED lighting at night. 

Austin Energy said the hub is powered by 100 percent renewable Texas wind energy through Austin Energy’s GreenChoice program. 

Monday’s unveiling of the hub marks the five-year anniversary of Austin Energy’s Plug-In EVerywhere program, which provides incentives and infrastructure to support the city’s growing EV market.. The program now features EV charging ports in 162 separate locations across the greater Austin area.

According to a 2016 analysis by the International Council on Clean Energy, Austin Energy’s Plug-In EVerywhere program has created a charging infrastructure three times the size of the regional average. 

Austin Energy - Electric Drive Ribbon Cutting

Plug-In EVerywhere is also affordable, Austin Energy said, noting that it offers unlimited vehicle charging for just $4.17 per month.

Electric Drive is an important facet of Austin’s larger commitment to promoting renewable energy.

“The Austin City Council has set ambitious goals to reduce the city’s carbon footprint,” said Jackie Sargent, Austin Energy general manager, “And Austin Energy is working to help achieve those goals. We’ve expanded our EV charging infrastructure and we’ve increased our supply of renewable energy. For last fiscal year, we produced enough renewable energy to match 30 percent of our customers’ usage.“

Austin Mayor Steve Adler noted that  Austin is aiming to become a net-zero greenhouse gases community by 2050. He also said that the city needs to expand its fleet of city-owned EVs and support research and development of autonomous electric vehicles.

Click here to see overhead drone footage of the Electric Drive project and of the ribbon cutting.

To learn more about Austin Energy’s electric vehicle offerings, click here.


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