The City of Houston, along with retail electricity provider Reliant Energy, launched their pilot program, “Power of the Plug-in.” This is a major step toward preparing Houston for future electric vehicles. “Power of the Plug-in” has converted 10 Toyota Prius to Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) by way of installation of a Hymotion battery pack. It is anticipated these vehicles will average 100 miles per gallon. The city is also installing 15 charging stations at various city facilities, 10 of which will be available to the public. Coulomb Technologies provided the charging stations for this project and charging will be at no cost to the consumer in the first year of the program.

“I applaud Houston for its electric vehicle initiative,” said Stephen Crolius, Senior Director, Transportation, Clinton Climate Initiative, a program of the William J. Clinton Foundation, “These tangible steps will position the city as a leader in the climate-friendly transportation sector.”

Future exploration of plug-in vehicles will continue this spring when the City will convert an additional 5 Prius to PHEV and install another 5 charging stations at various Houston Public Libraries in parking spots reserved for hybrid vehicles. Additionally, Houston is exploring a centralized downtown motor-pool fleet to consolidate individual department motor pools and reduce vehicle by more than 50%. Along with a web-based reservation system, Houston intends to purchase all-electric vehicles to stock the downtown pooled fleet, with the exception of some trucks, vans, and SUVs in the mix.

The roadmap to making Houston plug-in ready continues through private sector efforts. For example, Reliant Energy’s recent announcement to work with Nissan and further explore infrastructure needs and business models. Additionally, we will continue to work with other stakeholders within the region to develop a uniformed plan going forward.

Houston is an official partner city of Project Get Ready, an initiative helping cities prepare for electric vehicle adoption. In order to assist other cities in their efforts Houston will provide cost breakdowns of its installation efforts at various types of facilities. These numbers are intended to help with cost projects and calculations of ROI.

Houston Chronicle #1: City Hall’s hybrids: Green gold in the oil patch

Houston Chronicle #2: Group wants Texas to plug in with hybrid vehicles

Wall Street Journal: Will Houston Become an Electric-Car Capital?

Coulomb: City of Houston Installs Coulomb Technologies Networkded Charging Stations for Electric Vehicles

Discovery: ‘Project Get Ready’ Got Set and Went in Houston

CW Channel 39: Getting Plugged In Downtown

ABC Channel 13 Video: Houston plugs into greener future

Texas Energy and Environment: Reliant announces plans for electric vehicle services in Houston

City of Houston: Reliant Energy and the City of Houston Launch Electric Vehicle Pilot Project