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USA: NRG Energy Kicks Off Electric Car Charging Network

NRG Energy is kicking off what it calls the first privately funded plug-in electric vehicle charging network in the U.S. in the country’s oil state of Texas. On Friday morning NRG Energy officially started up the first charger in the network, which will include 70 so-called “Freedom Stations” in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and 50 in Houston by the end of 2012, as well as stations alongside the Interstate 45 corridor in 2012.

The first station is at a Walgreens at 5201 Belt Line Road at Montfort Drive in Dallas. NRG Energy CEO David Crane compared the launch to “taking a page from Southwest Airlines when they started out 40 years ago to link the major population centers in Texas,” (Crane will be speaking at our Green:Net event on April 21 in San Francisco). Other stations will be built at locations like Best Buys, around the Memorial City Mall, and at the Park ‘N Fly. NRG has teamed up with car charger maker Aerovironment and infrastructure provider GE.

For NRG’s “eVgo” electric car charging network, the power company is taking a page from the cellphone industry in charging flat monthly rates for a variety of different uses of charging. Charging plans for eVgo will range from $50 to $90 a month on fixed three-year contracts, with the cheaper rates for people who only want “Level 2” chargers, capable of adding about 25 miles of range per hour of charging, installed at their homes. The more expensive plans give access to the publicly located chargers, which will be fast chargers capable of adding some 30 miles of range in as few as 10 minutes.
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