Texas is among the leading states with the most electric vehicles (EVs) in the U.S., estimated at more than 122,000 units as of 2022. The most common models include the Nissan Leaf, BMW 530e and i3, and the Tesla Model Y, Model 3, and Model S.
However, while Texas has one of the highest EV adoptions, many Texans still don’t know what it takes to own an EV or what the expected operating expenses are. Some common questions include: Are the EV charging costs the same in Texas as in other states? Does the state offer any incentives to EV owners?
Keep reading to learn everything to know about owning an EV in Texas.
Texas Charging Infrastructure
One way to contextualize owning an EV in Texas is to assess its charging infrastructure. Texas is home to one of the biggest EV plants in the United States; it’s no surprise that Texas is going the extra mile with its EV charging infrastructure.
The state has recognized the EV industry’s market potential and is luring investors to develop EV charging infrastructure. For example, Texas approved $408 million in 2022 for constructing EV charging stations along various highways. Don’t be surprised if you notice 50 new EV charging ports along various interstates, such as Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston.
For EV owners, there is plenty to smile about as the ports will be 50 miles apart. Furthermore, you shouldn’t worry about long queues due to slow charging times, as the ports will have a charging power of 150kW.
How Many Charging Stations Does Texas Have?
Before Texas’ rollout plan to increase the state’s EV charging stations, they already had the fourth highest EV charging stations in the US. Currently, Texas has approximately 2,419 stations that are spread across various highways. The stations boast various chargers, such as DC fast chargers and level 2 chargers. Additionally, the charging stations can charge two cars at a time.
Types of Charging Stations
Charging stations differ based on voltage, charging level, and charging port. As such, EV owners should identify compatible stations for their vehicles. Below are the common types of charging stations you should expect to find in Texas.
Home Charging Stations
Prospective EV owners often wonder whether it is practical to buy an EV home charger. The simple answer is, “Yes.” Besides the convenience of charging your car from your garage, you will always ensure that your car is on a full charge before leaving.
In Texas, you can install Level 1, 2, and 3 chargers at home. Some may assume that installing an EV charger at home is expensive. Well, it depends on the type. For instance, Level 1 chargers are budget-friendly but very slow. For those with a Tesla, you must be patient with these chargers as they can take 20 to 40 hours to charge your car.
Most EV manufacturers recommend installing Level 2 chargers. They cost between $750 and $1,000, depending on whether you have a 240V power source. However, it’s worth the investment.
Unlike the Level 1 charger, this one is incredibly fast, as it takes several hours for a full charge. For example, you will only wait approximately 8 hours to drive your Tesla when using the Level 2 charger.
Though many people don’t recommend them, level 3 chargers are another option you can explore. However, you must be willing to dig deep into your pockets. Depending on your home’s electrical wiring, the installation process may cost you more than $80,000.
Notwithstanding the astronomical installation charges, your Tesla will take 30 minutes to charge. All in all, your garage can be a charging station. All you need is to install a charger, and you are good to drive.
Most free charging stations in Texas are located in malls, restaurants, hotels, and some highways. The only disadvantage is that there are only a few of them. For example, Dallas has 180 charging ports, but only 42 are free. Another shortcoming is that all the free stations in Texas use the Level 1 charger. EV owners must sacrifice their time for the free charge.
DC Fast Chargers and Tesla Superchargers
Texas has many charging stations with DC fast chargers and Tesla Superchargers. For example, Dallas has 395 stations with DC fast chargers and 254 stations with Tesla Superchargers. But why are these chargers fast?
It all depends on the battery’s conversion of AC and DC currents. All Level 1 chargers use alternating current (AC), so your vehicle’s battery must convert the AC to DC to store charge; this reduces charging efficiency.
On the other hand, charging stations with DC fast chargers have already converted the AC to DC. So, the DC is directly injected into your battery, reducing the charging time. Generally, expect the DC fast charger to take about 20 to 120 minutes to charge your vehicle to full charge.
Tesla Superchargers are among the fastest EV chargers currently available on the market. They take about 60 to 75 minutes to charge the lithium battery to about 80%. Fortunately, Tesla Superchargers are not limited to Tesla models and are compatible with most EVs.
EV owners living in Texas may have seen the Combine Charging Systems or the CCS plugs in different charging stations. You may have probably ignored the plugs and gone on to charge your vehicles using the slow Level 1 charger.
However, ask for the CCS plugs the next time you are at a Texas charging station. These plugs are connectors for DC fast chargers. They have a converter that converts AC to DC, supporting fast charging.
The good news is that CCS plugs can be used by both AC and DC chargers. It means you can buy a Level 1 charger and connect it to the CCS plugs for fast charging.
You will find CHAdeMo plugs mainly in DC fast charging stations in Texas. These plugs also have a convertor, so your electric car won’t take long to charge. The bad news is that it isn’t a universal plug like the CCS plugs. This means you cannot connect your Level 1 and 2 chargers to the CHAdeMo plugs as they are only designed for DC fast chargers.
Where Are the Charging Stations Located?
The first city to look for a charging station in Texas is Dallas. You will get both DC fast chargers and free stations. Other cities to consider include Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Amarillo, Brownsville-Harlingen, College Station-Bryan, and Corpus Christi.
Cost of Owning an EV in Texas
Now that everyone is turning to electric cars, is it financially feasible to own one? Keep reading to find out the costs involved, especially for Texians.
Tesla Model Y: Long-Range
It’s no surprise that Tesla is the first thing that comes to mind when buying an electric car. The Tesla Model Y is the best-selling EV on the market. At first glance, you may not know what the fuss is about, but after getting behind the wheel, you will appreciate its aesthetics and performance.
With the Model Y, you get two versions: long-range and performance. The long-range version may seem dull, but that’s the car to get if you live in Texas.
Just from the name, it’s evident that the long-range model has a good battery capacity that gives you a driving range of 326 miles. As for the battery, you often get a 78.1kWh battery that takes 15 minutes to charge with a DC fast charger.
Let’s now look at the financials involved. With $54,630, you can purchase this car online, which will be delivered in a few hours. If you prefer home charging, the Tesla Model Y will cost you approximately $10.39 to fully charge it based on the electric costs in Texas.
However, you can also charge at the public charging stations, which will cost you roughly $23.43. This is $13.04 more than home charging.
Ford F-150 Lighting
Many people do not consider themselves full Texians until they own a double-cabin truck. As such, with the inception of the Ford F-150 Lightning, you can own an electric truck. However, be ready to spend $55,869 to acquire this truck.
Furthermore, like the Tesla Model Y, the Ford F-150 Lighting has different models with varying prices. Ultimately, it depends on how much you’re willing to spend on the truck. The good news is that the EV truck saves you on gas expenses and other maintenance costs associated with petrol-powered vehicles.
Luckily, if you live in Texas, you have nothing to worry about compared to states like Hawaii. The Ford F-150 Lighting has a 98kWh battery capacity and will cost you approximately $13.04 to charge at home.
For those who don’t have the patience to use the Level 1 charger, you can charge your EV at a DC fast charging station. This will cost you $29.4. The Ford F-150’s charging costs may seem high, but it gives you a driving range of 320 miles.
We cannot fail to mention the Chevrolet Bolt, the cheapest EV on the market. This is the right car for those looking to cut down on their charging costs. Let’s talk about the most recent one, the Chevrolet Bolt 2020.
This car will cost you $27,495, a fair price for an electric car. It may seem small, but the battery will surprise you. With a 66kWh battery, you will drive the car comfortably for 259 miles without charging it.
In Texas, the EV charging costs are usually $0.133 per kWh for home charging and $0.3 per kWh for public charging. So, the Chevrolet Bolt will cost you $8.78 to charge at home and $19.9 at public charging stations. Clearly, owning a Chevrolet Bolt in Texas is cheaper than other EVs on this list.
Texas Electric Vehicle Incentives
You should also find out the state’s incentives before owning an EV in Texas. The state has various incentives to encourage EV ownership. For example, new buyers receive a $2,500 rebate upon purchasing an electric car in Texas. The only catch is that the state only allows 2,000 rebate applications annually.
Moreover, unlike some states, Texas has the cheapest charging costs in the US. For instance, in Hawaii, charging an electric car at home will cost you $0.4409 per kWh. So, if you buy the Chevrolet Bolt, you will incur $29.1 to charge the vehicle. This is $20.32 more than in Texas.
Though Texas doesn’t have many electric vehicle incentives, they are more accommodating of EV owners, unlike other states. However, expect more incentives in the future.
Owning an EV in Texas: Wrap Up
Ultimately, don’t hesitate to buy an EV in Texas. Besides incurring less maintenance and charging costs, the state has a rebate program for EV owners. So, if you are considering buying an EV, get it quickly because Texas’ rebate is given on a first-come, first-served basis.
Breaking EV News
June 8, 2023 — Today, Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors (GM) and Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter Spaces that GM EVs will be able to use adaptors to charge at 12,000 Tesla Superchargers starting in 2024. On May 25, 2023, Ford made a similar announcement. What’s more, both Ford and GM will feature Tesla’s North American Charging Standard connector starting in 2025.
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