Texas lawmakers take up infrastructure for electric cars

EV charging
Photo credit GETTY IMAGES

A bill in the Texas Senate would move the state toward adopting standards for electric vehicle charging stations. Kelly Hancock (R-Fort Worth) filed SB 1732.

The bill says more than 80,000 electric cars were registered in Texas in 2021.

"As more of these vehicles drive on Texas roads, there are concerns about access to charging stations that are compatible with every type of electric vehicle," Hancock wrote.

SB 1732 would require the Texas Department of Licensing and Registration and TxDOT to work together on a plan for charging stations to be "equipped with a standard electric vehicle charging connector or plug type that is widely compatible with as many electric vehicles as practicable."

The bill is currently in the Texas Senate Committee on Business and Commerce.

"We expect that somewhere between 2026 and 2033, we'll hit 50% of all new vehicle sales in Texas will be electrified," says Tom Smith, director of the Texas Electric Transportation Resources Alliance, a group that includes utilities, charging companies and consumers.

Smith says, as the use of electric vehicles grows, the state should consider regulations that would make finding a charger that fits a person's car as simple as finding a gas station.

"It'll be, basically, an equitable system," he told the committee. "Whatever charging plug you use, there will be an adapter available to make sure you can get energy."

The committee heard from a representative from Tesla who says the company is concerned it will have to make changes to charging stations already in place. Tesla says it currently has 113 stations with 1,200 fast-charging connectors in Texas.

"We are concerned the impact to retrofitting our existing stations, which is impossible for some of our stations, would be detrimental to infrastructure deployment," says Tesla's Francesca Wahl.

Wahl says Tesla has been working with Hancock on potential changes to the bill to allow for their existing infrastructure to remain in place.

Details about SB 1732 are available here. A companion bill in the Texas House is HB 5120 and is in the Transportation Committee there. Details about the House bill can be found here.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: GETTY IMAGES