Austin Energy unveiled an electric transportation hub called Electric Drive in the heart of downtown Austin.
Electric Drive is a showcase of Austin’s growing electric vehicle infrastructure, and offers proof that Austin has become EV ready.
Located along a portion of West 2nd Street in the Seaholm EcoDistrict, Electric Drive is powered entirely by renewable energy. Electric Drive offers dedicated parking for two electric vehicle charging stations including a fast-charging DC port, and a solar-powered kiosk that can recharge electric bikes, scooters, motorcycles, laptops and mobile devices using integrated USB ports and electrical outlets.
The kiosk, located alongside the Butler Hike & Bike Trail, also provides shade from the sun’s rays during the day, and LED lighting at night. Electric Drive demonstrates Austin Energy‘s commitment to the growing electric vehicle market and renewable energy.
Monday’s ribbon-cutting event also celebrates the five-year anniversary of Austin Energy’s Plug-In EVerywhere Program, which provides incentives and the infrastructure to support Austin’s growing EV market.
Since the inception of Plug-In EVerywhere, Austin Energy has installed 547 EV charging ports in 162 separate locations across the Austin area. Every charging port is powered by 100 percent renewable Texas wind energy through Austin Energy’s GreenChoice program.
“We are a community-owned utility, and we work hard to respond to the needs of our customers,” said Jackie Sargent, Austin Energy General Manager. “Austin is a community that puts a premium on clean air, renewable energy, and, increasingly, electric vehicles. The Austin City Council has set ambitious goals to reduce the City’s carbon footprint. 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.”
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. One of the most popular features of Plug-In EVerywhere is its affordable price: instead of the average $20 to $30 cost of filling a car with gas, Plug-In EVerywhere offers unlimited vehicle charging with 100 percent renewable energy for $4.17 per month.
“In my view, Austin is the most forwarding-thinking city in the U.S.,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler. “Our citizens demand that their city government be just as forward-thinking. That’s why we have committed to making Austin a net-zero greenhouse gases community by 2050. Austin Energy, with its commitment to renewable energy and electrification of our transportation, is doing its part. The city of Austin must do likewise. We need to expand our fleet of city-owned electric vehicles, and we need to support research and deployment of autonomous electric vehicles.”
In a proclamation announced at the ribbon-cutting event, Council Member Ann Kitchen proclaimed March 27 as Austin Electric Drive Day.
“Austin is on the verge of exciting, fundamental change in the way we move people around this city. What seems leap-ahead technology today will be commonplace in a decade,” said Council Member Kitchen.