New technology makes plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) a real option for Houston Metro commuters. If you decide to purchase a PEV, contact CenterPoint Energy to ensure your electricity needs are met.


Types & Models of PEVs

Plug-in vehicle (PEV) terms:

  • PHEVs – plug-in hybrid electric vehicles use combined power sources of gasoline and electricity.
  • EREVs – extended-range electric vehicles also use combined power sources of gasoline and electricity. Note: the distinction between PHEVs and EREVs means little to consumers.
  • BEVs, or battery electric vehicles, use electricity as the sole power source.
  • Conventional hybrids are not PEVs! An example is the standard Toyota Prius.

Examples of PEVs:


Power source​ Examples​
PHEVs & EREVs
(plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) ​
stored electricity & gas​ Audi A3 E-Tron
Chevy Volt
BMW: 330e, i8, and X5
Chrysler Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid
Ford: C-Max Energi, and Fusion Energi
Hyundai: Sonata Plug-in Hybrid
Mercedes: C350, and S550 Plug-in Hybrids
Mercedes-Benz GLE550e
Porsche: Cayenne, and Panamera S E-Hybrids
Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid
Volvo XC90 T8 ​
BEVs
(battery electric vehicles) ​
stored electricity​ BMW i3
Chevy: Bolt and Spark
Fiat 500e
Ford Focus Electric
Hyundai Ioniq
Kia Soul EV
Mercedes-Benz: B-Class Electric Drive
Mitsubishi i-MiEV
Nissan Leaf
Smart Electric Drive
Tesla: Models S, X, and 3
Volkswagen E-Golf ​

Interested in buying a PEV? The Vehicle Cost Calculator from the U.S. Department of Energy helps you calculate the total cost of ownership and emissions for most vehicles, including electric vehicles.

PEV Benefits & Drawbacks

Each person or family should examine whether a PEV will fit their lifestyle and budget.

Pros of plug-in cars:

  • Fuel Savings – it costs the equivalent of about 75 cents/gallon of gas if your electricity rate is 10 cents/kilowatt-hour.
  • Environmentally friendly – BEVs produce zero tailpipe emissions! PHEVs/EREVs have significantly lower tailpipe emissions than gas-only vehicles.
  • Maintenance – PEVs have fewer moving parts than internal combustion engines and require less maintenance.
  • Convenience – Dramatically reduce or eliminate your trips to the gas station.
  • Performance – Concerned about slow acceleration? The Chevy Volt has an impressive 0-60mph time of 7.5 seconds. The Tesla S P100D clocked in at an amazing 2.5 seconds!
  • Economy Support – The demand for PEVs generates U.S. jobs in the auto, technology and energy industries.

Cons of plug-in cars:

  • Upfront Costs – Electric cars have higher purchase price tags than comparable gas-powered vehicles. Also, buying and installing a fast-charge station will cost $500 to $1,500.
  • Range – The range, or maximum distance travelled with a single charge, widely varies among models but some PEVs have a range less than 20 miles. Also, range diminishes as the battery ages.
  • Refueling Time – It takes 4.5 hours to fully charge a Chevy Volt with a 240V quick-charger. It takes 13 hours with a standard 110V outlet (more on that below).
  • Technology Advancement – Manufacturers constantly improve the range and performance of their models. Some consumers fear regretting that they “didn’t wait another year” before buying.
  • Fewer Choices – The number of PEV models is rapidly expanding, but car-buyers may not have many vehicles to choose from in a given price range.
  • Insurance? Before buying a PEV, check auto insurance quotes and compare them to gas-powered or conventional-hybrid models that are comparable in value (and age for used cars).

Charging PEV Batteries

If you’re buying an electric vehicle and live in Houston, call CenterPoint Energy at 713-207-2222 to ensure we meet your new electricity needs!

Charging at home:

  • Standard charging – it’s possible to plug your car directly into a standard 110v outlet, but the charging time could be as much as 13 hours.
  • Fast-charge at home – a 240-volt electric charging station will cut your charging time by more than half. Contact CenterPoint Energy to ensure your energy needs will be met. You will have to contact a licensed electrician to perform any upgrades to a 240-volt circuit, if needed.
  • Cost of home charging station – An electric vehicle home charging station generally costs $500-$3,000 to purchase and install, depending on the features you want.
  • Save on electricity – Ask your retail electric provider if they have off-peak rates (such as “free nights and weekends” or peak-time rebates) and their specific off-peak hours. When possible, charge your vehicle during off-peak hours to potentially save money with a lower electricity rate while lessening the stress on Houston’s energy grid (your electricity rates are determined by the contract you made with your retail electric provider).

Charging away from home:

There are PEV charging-station stations throughout Houston Metro. But keep in mind that PEV charging stations aren’t all equal; not all have DC fast charging (440-volt) available and some may not have capacity for many vehicles.

Online charging station locators:

Additional Electric Vehicle Resources