Houston EV Incentives: Free Jolt for Your Volt, Toll Relief for Your Leaf

HOUSTON EV INCENTIVES: FREE JOLT FOR YOUR VOLT, TOLL RELIEF FOR YOUR LEAF At the unveiling yesterday of plans for the 150-station electric-vehicle charging network NRG Energy will be building in Houston, Mayor Parker announced a few additional perks for local EV owners: Electric vehicles that can drive fast enough will be allowed on Metro-operated HOV lanes for free, and the city will negotiate reduced rates for them on area toll roads. Owners of the new Chevy Volt will be able to get home charging stations installed for free; they’ll also be available at a reduced cost for Nissan Leaf buyers. The city will also be adding to its own small network of charging stations around the city, with 45 new additional juice dispensers for public use. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Video: eVgo

13 Comment

  • these are only practical/affordable for folks with money to burn so Parker is basically proposing handouts for the rich. if she negotiates lower toll rates for electric vehicles then she needs to be kicked out of office.

    has anyone addressed how electric vehicle owners will help support funding of the roads they are being given priviliged access to? how about an increased registration sticker price to make up for the loss in gas taxes.

  • “that can drive fast enough?!”


  • As a future Nissan Leaf owner, I would feel bad about getting special HOV lane priviledges. Doesn’t the “HO” in HOV stand for High Occupancy? I really think that part ofthe plan is ill-considered. Anyway, I do appreciate the charging station infrastructure. The news I’m waiting for though is that there will be 480-volt charging stations in Columbus and Bastrop, so I can drive my EV easily to Austin.

    As for affording an EV, with the $7500 tax credit and some money from my old trade-in car, I don’t have to be anywhere near rich to buy one. Or, I could lease one for about the same monthly payment as many other gas-powered cars. No wealth required.

    As for highway taxes, obviously something equitable needs to worked out. How about a formula based on miles driven and the weight of the vehicle?

  • @ Jessie M

    My thought exactly!!

  • I can’t wait till the first electric vehicle runs out of juice on the HOV lane and clogs it up. I figure the first week.

  • Electric vehicles being allowed in the HOV lanes or being given reduced tolls are incredibly stupid ideas.
    An electric car still damages the road. An electric car will still add to congestion. They already won’t buy gasoline to pay the gas tax to support building and maintenance of roads. So from the start, they’re getting a free ride. And then on top of that, we want to give them a free ride on toll roads as well?
    What happens when too many people get electric cars? That’s right, the HOV lanes will become just as clogged as the mainlanes and they’ll have to get rid of this undeserved privelege.
    It’s a gimmick.

  • This Mayor is another idiot in office.

  • Surely there will be something in place where EV owners will pay road use taxes.

    I can just see the protests coming. Agreed, Parker has her own agendas and it seems to be ‘my way or the highway.’

    Hopefully, it’ll be the highway….for her come next mayoral election.

  • So, the Mayor is deciding I should help pay the cost for people who own electric cars? That’s total crap. Time for a recall election to get someone who understands it isn’t their money they are giving away.

  • OK – if you are going to let the electric cars take a pass on tolls, etc. maybe you can make up the difference with charging those that feel compelled to drive full size SUVs and pickup trucks to pay more? Seriously – there has to be a better way then letting them drive for free.

  • I see this as an incentive for Houston drivers to step away from the hydrocarbons. I don’t know enough about the cost to our city for the amount of smog and other pollution we live with daily (esp. during the summer when we have weeks of high ozone alerts!), but it seems to me that fewer gasoline powered cars on our roads would make Houston a nicer place to be. What would be the $$s associated with fewer ozone alerts vs. smaller toll receipts?

  • Karen,
    Government fiat to close 90% of gas stations, or putting sugar in drivers’ gas tanks, or the threat of violence against drivers of gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles would also be examples of “incentives” to drive electric cars.
    That does not mean that these are desirable, logical, or fair, and neither are these breaks the mayor is proposing.
    In fact, I could envision a probable scenario — if electric cars catch on soon — where there are not only more cars on the road because people are no longer carpooling/vanpooling to get in the HOV lane, but the HOV is often brought to a low speed. One or the other of these would probably happen.
    If either of those does happen, I think there would be more pollution because the 90+% of vehicles that would still use gasoline/diesel would be stuck in traffic — therefore, more emissions per mile.

  • If you are envious of the incentives given to EV owners, just buy an EV. I did. Now you are paying for the development of my car and you are subsizing it from the purchase price to the operating costs. I would be angry if I didn’t just order a Volt. But I did. If you can’t afford a Volt, you should have said no to drugs and stayed in school. You only have yourself to blame. A sincere thank you for your financial support.