Houston Gets Private Electric Car Charging Network

Texas might be getting the most innovative and practical electric car charging system in the United States. Surprise?


Houston, Texas, may end up being the first American city with a great electric car charging infrastructure. A company with the phonically awkward name of NRG Energy is rolling out "the world's first privately funded comprehensive electric vehicle ecosystem."

The system (or "ecosystem," in their overwrought marketing speak) is called eVgo and it employs a very interesting business model. NRG is going to install between 50 and 150 high-speed chargers in public places—think shopping centers and the like—by the end of 2011. They'll also be installing chargers in people's homes.


Subscribers to eVgo sign a three-year contract and then pay a monthly fee, ranging from $49 to $89, for both a home charger and varying levels of access to this network of public chargers.

That most expensive plan gets you a home charger, access to all the public chargers, and free electricity—that is, it doesn't show up on your home utility bill at all. Pretty reasonable, right?

The high-speed chargers distributed around the city will be able to charge a car to 80 percent (that's 80 miles worth for the Leaf) within 30 minutes. This video has a few more details.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQIjVyX5jkc

Some people are expressing surprise that this is happening in oil country, but I'm not sure it's such an unlikely place. I'll go out on a limb and guess Houston has a relatively high percentage of people in single-family homes with garages. That means there are lots of people for whom a home charger is an option—and home chargers can make electric cars practical for people right off the bat, even when a public network of chargers is sparse.


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National Tell a Joke Day dates back to 1944 when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was having a meeting with Vice-President, Henry Wallace. The two men were tired and depressed due to the stress caused by leading a country through world war.

During a lull in the meeting, Wallace said, "Frank, to cheer you up I have a joke I'd like to share."

"Let's have it, Henry," Roosevelt replied while ashing his cigarette.

"Why did the chicken cross the road?" Wallace asked. "Not sure," Roosevelt replied.

"To get to the other side," Wallace responded.

Roosevelt laughed so hard that the bourbon he was drinking sprayed out of his nose and onto the floor of the oval office.

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The joke was so funny, and did such a great job at lightening both their moods, Roosevelt proclaimed that every year, August 16 would be National Tell a Joke Day.

Just kidding.

Nobody knows why National Tell a Joke Day started, but in a world where the President of the United States is trying to buy Greenland, "Beverly Hills, 90210" is back on TV, and the economy is about to go off a cliff, we could all use a bit of levity.

To celebrate National Tell a Joke Day, the people on Twitter responded with hundreds of the corniest dad jokes ever told. Here are some of the best.

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Elaine Solowey, the Director of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies at Kibbutz Ketura in Israel, wondered if she could revive the Judean Date Palm, so in 2005, she began to experiment. "I assumed the food in the seed would be no good after all that time. How could it be?" Solewey said.

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"We must err on the side of safety. Most recently, two Delta employees were bit by a pit bull traveling as a support animal last week. We struggled with the decision to expand the ban to service animals, knowing that some customers have legitimate needs, but we have determined that untrained, pit bull-type dogs posing as both service and support animals are a potential safety risk," Delta told People regarding the new rule.

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via Liam Beach / Facebook

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This miracle worker is Liam Beach, a 19-year-old animal management graduate from Cardiff, Wales. A friend of his dared him to attempt the shot and he accepted the challenge.

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The Great American Rail-Trail, a bike path that will connect Washington state to Washington, D.C., is over 50% complete.

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