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USA: NRG Energy to install 120 electric-car charging stations in Texas by end of 2012

ARLINGTON — NRG Energy, the New Jersey-based owner of Reliant Energy and Green Mountain, said Friday that it will install 120 charging stations for electric cars — 70 around Dallas-Fort Worth and 50 in greater Houston — by the end of the 2012 with half done by this summer, making Texas the first state with such infrastructure.

NRG is betting $25 million that the scheme will help motorists overcome fears of being stranded without juice in a vehicle’s rechargeable battery, known in the industry as “range anxiety,” CEO David Crane told reporters at the Arlington Convention Center.

If successful, it would solve a chicken-and-egg dilemma: Consumers won’t buy electric cars until there are enough charging stations, and companies won’t invest in such stations until a critical mass of electric vehicles hits the road.

Crane said NRG’s “eVgo” initiative puts Texas ahead of California and other states.

Walgreen and Best Buy said they will provide space for charging stations. An NRG spokesman said Central Market will participate, but a representative of the grocer’s parent, H.E. Butt, said that only H.E.B. supermarkets around Houston will be in a pilot program.

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