NRG Energy has grown its network of charging stations to include Freedom Stations, a fast-charging option for EV motorists in the Houston and Dallas/Ft. Worth areas in Texas. Freedom Stations give those EV owners who have subscribed to the eVgo network the freedom to charge wherever they find an NRG Energy’s eVgo EV Charging station. The fast-charge stations, which feature 480V DC, can recharge 80 percent of EVs in under 30 minutes. NRG plans on having 35 Freedom Station sites in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, and 25 sites in Houston completed by early 2012.
Founded by NRG in 2010, eVgo is the country’s first privately-funded charging network, and is the only EV network in the nation offering this fast-charging option. Two types of stations will be available. The eVgo convenience stations will offer Level 2 charging (and yummy snacks) and remain open according to the retailer’s business hours. The eVgo Freedom Stations will include Level 2 and DC charging areas, and will be accessible 24 hours a day. The stations offer charging docks for two cars at a time, and are compatible with any EV (hopefully even this mobile BBQ, if it comes to the US!), according to Tianna Robinson, a sales rep at Reliant Energy (NRG Energy is its parent company). Anyone with an interest can sign up to become a member and charge at all eVgo Network charging stations.
How quickly can you charge the battery on the EV?
According to the eVgo Network site:
“If your car is equipped to accept a DC charge, then a 480-volt quick-charge station can deliver approximately 160 miles per hour of charging. 220/240V (depending on amperage) can deliver up to 24 miles per hour and 110/120V provides approximately 6 miles of range for each hour of charging.”
One charge at the fast-charging station could take you up to 160 miles (more than enough!), depending on the car you drive, and other typical variables, such as road conditions, style of driving, etc… Ms. Robinson noted that a larger EV, something like Ford’s little plug-in project, might not enjoy the same range. Keep in mind, also, that those 480V are available only at the fast-charge station. Read more about their charging options here.
Cost of Service:
eVgo’s charging plans feature flat monthly rates. The company recommends the “complete” package, which happens to be the most expensive ($89), but also offers the most features. This includes the home installation cost (home charging dock and equipment), the home electricity cost, a three year service plan, and unlimited charging at eVgo network stations. It also includes unlimited at home charging, with no additional electricity costs during non-peak hours. Installation could get more expensive with custom installations. A customer plugs in the car overnight at home; at the fast-charge station, the customer waves a key fob to start the charging process.
NRG Energy hopes to eventually have enough charging stations between Houston and Dallas to enable a decent road trip. Do you have any recommendations for a charging location? Click here. Better yet, want to host a station? Click here.