AUSTIN, Texas — As Austin grows, so does the number of electric vehicles (EVs) around town.
A new Austin Energy report says 10,000 EVs are on Austin roads – an annual average increase of 39% over the past five years.
“The growth of electric vehicles in Austin over the last 10 years has been pretty significant, and especially over the last few years,” said Cameron Freberg, utility strategist at Austin Energy. “The market for electric vehicles here in Austin is growing so fast because I think people are realizing how easy of an experience it is to drive.”
For Joseph Barletta, the switch to electric happened seven years ago.
“It is an environmental investment that you're making with an electric car, but for us, it was no maintenance and then of course the sustainability realm of it,” Barletta said.
He used to drive a Toyota Tundra before switching to a Nissan Leaf. He spent about $350 per month on gas, and now spends about $35 more per month on his electricity bill.
“If you can see long-term wise, if you can just get a hold of that long-term information, you know that by purchasing an electric car, driving an electric car, you are making that difference long-term,” Barletta said.
The City is now working on managing the growth of EVs and finding ways to keep up with the demand for charges. Currently, there are an estimated 900 charging stations in Austin, Freberg said.
If you have an electric vehicle, Austin offers a $4.17 per month rate for unlimited use of city charge stations.
Freberg predicts the next 10 years of electric transportation to be “enormous” because more models, including medium- and heavy-duty vehicles with electric drivetrains, will start to come on the market.
Some of those bigger vehicles were on display at Circuit of the Americas on Saturday at the largest EV event in North America.
Fully Charged, a European-based YouTube channel focusing on electric vehicles and clean energy, presented the live show.
“If you can switch to clean energy and electric vehicles in Texas, you can do it anywhere,” managing director Dan Caesar said. “There's more electric cars around and people are naturally seeing that, but also there's a lot going on in the world in terms of climate change and air pollution.”
The event was sold out.
“The secret's out that electric cars are faster and more fun to drive, so that's making people think twice,” Caesar said.
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