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West Texas EV Convoy Champions Going Electric

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A convoy of electric vehicles (EVs) drove across West Texas this fall to educate community leaders about the benefits of electric transportation. A consolidated effort among the Texas Electric Transportation Resources Alliance (TxETRA), Conservative Texans for Energy Innovation, Lightning eMotors, and the Texas Electric School Bus Project, the group hopes to continue EV use expansion in the Lone Star State.

Photo Courtesy TxETRA – Texas Electric Transportation Resources Alliance

“Bringing the EV roadshow to San Angelo, Midland-Odessa, and Lubbock is a game-changer for our electric transportation future,” Tom Smith of TxETRA said in a statement. “We’re showcasing a range of electric vehicles, including an electric school bus, and providing a roadmap for electrifying Texas. We aim to boost local economies, collaborate with community leaders, and maximize electric transportation benefits, sparking growth in West Texas communities.”

The convoy included state-of-the-art vehicles like a Lightning eMotors bus, Hummer EV, Ford Mustang Mach E, Tesla Model Y, and Volvo C40 Pure Recharge Electric.

The line of electric cars and trucks made various stops across the region, including the Electrify America Charging Station in Midland and the San Angelo Visitor’s Center, showcasing the future of transportation.

One of the convoy’s primary messages is that Texas needs more charging stations, especially in rural areas. The Texas Department of Transportation’s NEVI Program, which was discussed on the tour, is a multi-phase project to build more EV charging areas throughout Texas. Additionally, the Texas Infrastructure Plan was established in 2021 for the expansion of chargers throughout Texas. At the San Angelo, TX, stop, Michael Chamberlain of TxDOT explained that when the charging network is built out, it will support 1 million EVs.

Photo Courtesy Volvo Car USA

“In the towns that have the electric vehicle chargers, folks are going to go there to charge their vehicles, they’re going to stop, and they’re going to get out, and they’re going to shop in the local shops,” Jessica Keithan, director of the Texas Electric Bus Project, said told KLBK-TV. “They’re going to buy a sandwich in the local sandwich shop, and that money is coming to communities across the state.” 

Overall, the tour worked to inform the region’s leaders and stakeholders about available electric transportation resources and encourage applications for available grants and incentives.

The hope is to give local leaders the knowledge and tools to understand the tax credits, resources, and incentives available as they electrify their communities. 

Experts in the field were on hand at all stops to explain available economic assistance on a state and federal level. At the top of the agenda was the environmental impact and cost savings of towns switching to electric school buses.

Photo Courtesy TxETRA – Texas Electric Transportation Resources Alliance

“It makes so much sense for school buses: predictable low mileage routes, time to rest and recharge in the afternoon and also overnight, and then the benefits to our kids and then the benefits of the savings,” Keithan said to KLBK-TV. “It’s possibly more than $170,000 of savings over the lifetime of the bus per electric school bus in maintenance and fuel savings.” 

The EV convoy hopes to continue to showcase those benefits as Texas helps the United States reach its net-zero carbon emissions goal by 2050. Transitioning to electric cars and trucks on the roads is critical for a more sustainable future.

Photo Courtesy Lightning eMotors  “It’s an opportunity to get ahead of the curve and to do this right in Texas,” Keithan said to KLBK-TV. “We’ve got the largest state in the lower 48, so we can show them how it’s done.”

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