Charging infrastructure for electric cars in Texas: who is on top?

Charging infrastructure for electric cars in Texas: who is on top?

Google search trend data show that San Antonians’ interest in electric cars has grown since early March, when Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, disrupting gas production and then raising prices at the pump.

With San Antonio’s burgeoning interest in EVs, we wanted to see how its charging infrastructure compares to other major Texas cities. To do this, we pulled data from the U.S. Department of Energy’s alternate gas station locator to identify every public electric car charging location in the state.

Out of cities of at least 100 square miles, San Antonio ranks fourth with 31.1 EV charging locations. It runs behind the state leader, Austin, who has 161.3 locations per 100 square miles.

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We use this standard to compare because most of the driving in the U.S. takes place in the communities where people live, according to a 2017 Department of Energy research into the infrastructure of electric vehicles The study went on to say that easy access to charging within communities is crucial for widespread EV adoption.

While San Antonio is in the top five for station locations overall, it lags behind direct current fast charging stations (DCFC). DCFC stations are more of a traditional gas pump where you can quickly fill up. If you are the type of person who constantly forgets to charge their phone overnight, this EV charging option is for you. Level 1 and 2 chargers provide lower energy output, but are more commonly encountered. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, Level 2 chargers account for 80 percent of public EV chargers nationwide.

San Antonio ranks seventh with just 1.4 DCFC locations per 100 square miles, lagging behind companies like Fort Worth, Corpus Christi and Amarillo. Two of the DCFC locations in San Antonio are Tesla Superchargers, meaning they are exclusive to Tesla vehicles. And all seven are concentrated in the Northside neighborhoods.

In December 2019, the San Antonio Office of Sustainability publish a study that 16,500 EVs are expected to be on San Antonio’s roads by 2025. To support them, the city estimated it would need 1,303 DCFC charging plugs. By mid-2022, the city will have a total of 32.

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“We are closely monitoring the market regarding DCFC, for example the Electrify America initiative, but DCFC is not part of the City of San Antonio project at this time,” said Julia Murphy, Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer from San Antonio in an email.

Murphy further said the city is focused on providing level 2 EV charging stations in popular city locations through its public-private partnership with Blink Charging that the city council green-lit last year. She added that future funding opportunities from the federal government — including $408 million that Texas will receive from the National Electric Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program — could allow the city to install more DCFC locations in the future.