GOOD

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.

Articles

A two-minute television ad from New Zealand is a gut punch to dog lovers who smoke cigarettes. "Quit for Your Pets" focuses on how second-hand smoke doesn't just affect other humans, but our pets as well.

According to Quitline New Zealand, "when you smoke around your pets, they're twice as likely to get cancer."

Keep Reading
Health
via Bossip / Twitter

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders took aim at former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg onstage at Wednesday's Las Vegas Democratic debate, likening the billionaire businessman to President Donald Trump and questioning his ability to turn out voters.

Sanders began by calling out Bloomberg for his stewardship of New York's stop and frisk policy that targeted young black men.

Keep Reading
Politics
via United for Respect / Twitter

Walmart workers issued a "wake up call" to Alice Walton, an heir to the retailer's $500 billion fortune, in New York on Tuesday by marching to Walton's penthouse and demanding her company pay its 1.5 million workers a living wage and give them reliable, stable work schedules.

The protest was partially a response to the company's so-called "Great Workplace" restructuring initiative which Walmart began testing last year and plans to roll out in at least 1,100 of its 5,300 U.S. stores by the end of 2020.

Keep Reading
Communities