On the heels of their March 2017 Electric Drive event, utility provider Austin Energy lit up the 2017 E Source Forum by winning the Best Event/Experiential Marketing award at the annual conference—an energy-saving mecca of sorts for electric or natural gas utilities and large business customers served by those utilities. In the case of Austin Energy, a progressive utility with a well-established green energy and green building posture, their innovative Electric Drive event on March 27 was held on the streets of the Texas capital and served as a launch for the city’s recently upgraded electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure.
“We were honored to win the E Source award,” said Bobby Godsey, project lead for Austin Energy’s Electric Vehicles and Emerging Technologies programs, when we met up with him this past weekend at the National Drive Electric Week event in Austin. Godsey and co-worker Athena Petropoulos accepted the award at the E Source event in Denver on behalf of Austin Energy.
“We have had lots of interest since we launched Electric Drive from other cities looking to do similar programs,” added Godsey. “At the same time we are busy growing our offerings for EV drivers with the new EV360 pilot program. Customers can sign up for a fixed, time-of-use rate that includes unlimited charging at our public Plug-in EVerywhere stations plus unlimited off-peak charging at home.” The fee for EV360 can be as low as $30 per month.
A highlight of the Electric Drive event, the utility’s Plug-in EVerywhere program includes nearly 550 charging ports around the Austin metro area in 126 different locations, and costs Austin Energy customers only $4.17 per month for unlimited charging. We use the program multiple times per week for charging our 2017 Prius Prime plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV), avoiding most EV charging costs on our electric bill.
Developed by partnering with national charging network provider ChargePoint, the ports are powered by renewable Texas wind energy through Austin Energy’s GreenChoice program. While most of the current ports are Level 2—a charging technology that can add up to 25 miles of range per hour— the utility is busy adding more fast-charging DC ports that can add 200 miles or more of range per hour.
Tom Kolnowski is the Chief Content Officer & Founder of Digitized House Media, LLC, the publisher of Digitized House | Guide to the Connected Home. When he isn’t writing about smart home technology, sustainability, and high-performance architecture, you’ll find him exploring faraway destinations with his family.