AUSTIN, Texas — As electric vehicle sales and popularity continue to grow throughout Central Texas, some new customers have been on the fence about buying one due to unanswered questions.
EV Live, a program designed by General Motors, is trying to answer the variety of questions that potential customers may have regarding electric vehicles and where the technology is heading in the future. Some of the topics that the program covers includes battery life, vehicle and fuel costs and driving range.
The program is a platform that allows people to interact with consumer-friendly, brand agnostic education tools, in real time, with an electric vehicle expert through an internet-enabled device.
One of the in-person launches of EV Live took place at the South Congress Hotel in Austin. Attendees got a first look at how the program works.
"We're getting a lot of calls from Texans, and that's why we're here to talk about it and really introduce people and answer their questions. You want to know about home charging? We got your answer," said Hoss Hassani, General Motors vice president of EV Ecosystem.
When people call into EV Live, they're talking to a real electric vehicle specialist who is trained to answer all the questions that may be on their minds. Hassani said the overall goal is to get more people comfortable with the idea of buying an electric vehicle amid record sales.
"We've got vehicles like SUVs, smaller SUVs up to the Chevy Silverado, iconic Texas vehicles and the Sierra EV, of course, the Hummer EV," Hassani said. "So, really, wherever you are in sort of terms of lifestyle and family situations, so forth, General Motors is introducing an EV that's right for you."
According to Hassani, General Motors is investing $750 million to expand charging infrastructure in U.S. and Canada. The expansion includes rural communities and urban markets that have less developed infrastructure, throughout Texas.
"Chances are, if people ask the questions that are on their mind that's holding them back, they're going to get an answer from our idealized specialist that, you know, changes that consideration," Hassani said.
On the environmentally-friendly side, General Motors recycles 100% of its electric vehicle batteries. The company either puts the batteries into stationary storage or virtual power plants.
Aaron Choates with the Austin Area Electric Vehicle Association said the functionality of electric vehicles allows them to be perfectly capable cars in comparison to the standard gas-fueled vehicle.
"If you are running your vehicle off of electric, you're able to source your energy from any source," Choates said. "You can use solar, you can use wind, you can use that power plant down the street. But that power plant's a lot easier to clean up than any given car."
The Austin Area Electric Vehicle Association hosts local events where residents are introduced to the concept of electric vehicles. Additionally, the organization offers a membership program to discuss the technology that goes into electric vehicles.
"A lot of us have been talking about how it's really great to be able to commute in an electric vehicle but, now, you can get out with them. You can go on road trips, and it's really important to be able to support that," Choates said.
According to Choates, Austin Energy is working with Chargepoint to put chargers for electric vehicles all across the city.
"You're seeing companies like Tesla, GM and Ford supporting EV charging networks. So you're going to see them popping up at gas stations across the region but also at places that you want to go," Choates said.
EV Live officials said they're excited to demonstrate how an outdoor-minded brand built on conservation can collaborate with forward-thinking technology to achieve mutual goals and work to get more Central Texans to choose electric vehicles.
Boomtown is KVUE's series covering the explosive growth in Central Texas. For more Boomtown stories, head to KVUE.com/Boomtown.