AUSTIN - With growing recognition that fossil fuels are simply too damaging to our climate, our health and our environment, many Texas cities are adopting policies to get more electric vehicles on the road. Now a new toolkit outlines best practices from EV communities around Texas and provides examples for other local governments to follow.
Every day, local governments make decisions about municipal purchasing, the use of public streets and parking garages, planning and zoning, and other issues that can either make it easier or more difficult for their residents to own an EV.
Electric municipal fleets: Austin leads the state with 200 EVs in its city fleet. The North Central Texas Council of Governments offers generous grants to local governments to replace heavy-duty diesel vehicles in their fleets with EVs.
Expansion of EV charging infrastructure: In February, San Antonio partnered with Blink Charging to deploy up to 140 owned level 2 charging ports and 3 DC fast-charging stations throughout the city. Houston has created a guide to help simplify the process for installing EV charging at homes and businesses. All public EV charging stations through Austin’s utility company Austin Energy are powered by 100% renewable Texas wind.
Electric buses: Austin, Dallas, Port Arthur, Lubbock have all purchased electric transit buses and Everman ISD near Fort Worth has deployed the first electric school buses in Texas.
EV-friendly building codes and zoning requirements: Corinth, a suburb of Dallas, requires a set number of electric vehicle parking spaces in lots with over 50 spaces and sets requirements for electric vehicle signage. Local governments can also implement building codes that require new residential and commercial construction projects to include a set number of EV charging stations or the necessary electrical infrastructure to implement charging stations in the future.
Incentives to purchase EVs: Austin Energy provides rebates up to $1,200 for residents and multifamily homes to install private charging stations. Residents in San Antonio with electric vehicles or hybrids can apply for free parking at street parking meters.
EV advocacy and resolutions: Houston’s EV Roadmap includes an electric vehicle sales target of 30% by 2030, and a detailed explanation on how the city plans to achieve it. Austin Energy EV’s buyer guide provides information on where to buy EVs in Texas, what incentives are available, and where charging stations are located in the area.
“We’re in a race against time to stop the worst impacts of global warming. By using a set of key tools to encourage EV adoption, local governments can help clean up the air in their communities and take meaningful action against climate change,” said Luke Metzger, Executive Director of Environment Texas Research and Policy Center and one of the toolkit’s authors. “On your marks, get so, go!”