San Antonio has about 500 all-electric vehicles on the road
SAN ANTONIO - Gas-up or plug-in? That's the question more car-buying consumers will be asking as electric vehicles get more attention.
Tesla just rolled out its first Model 3 last week, considered a potential game-changer with its more affordable $35,000 sticker. Volvo announced last week that it is putting the brakes on gas-only vehicles by 2019.
Electric vehicles are hardly in the fast lane in San Antonio, but that could be changing.
"I think you're going to see a big increase in electric-vehicle takeoff here as the vehicles get longer range," said Todd Horsman, senior director of strategy and product development at CPS Energy.
The utility operates a fleet of EVs and is responsible for public charging stations.
"Our goal in our service area is to make sure everybody has the ability to charge," Horsman said.
The greater San Antonio area has 150 public charging stations. However, they can often be seen unused.
The State Department of Motor Vehicles showed that in 2016 Texas had 199,096 hybrids and 8,397 electric vehicles. Combined, that's less than one percent of of the state's 24 million registered vehicles.
Charles Jordan drives a Prius, preferring the gas-stingy hybrid to the all-electric vehicle he used to have.
"I didn't keep it because gas prices changed, and I had a limited range on how far I could drive," he said. "It was a little bit of a hassle."
It's that range-anxiety that Horsman says is a primary reason for not taking the electric plunge.
But now that some automakers are making EVs that can go up to 200 miles on a single charge, that concern could ease.
CPS Energy is also testing new direct current (DC) chargers that could be a difference-maker, too.
"They are very fast-charging. You can literally charge about 75 percent of the vehicle in 10 minutes," Horsman said. "You could charge it and go in and get yourself a soda and kolache and come back out and you've got 75 percent charge."