A new list from EV Charger Reviews puts Texas in the No. 2 position among the worst states for owning an EV. Photo via Getty Images

You’d think that producing tens of thousands of Teslas might help drive up Texas’ standing among the best states for owning an electric vehicle. To the contrary, Texas ranks among the worst states to be an EV owner.

A new list from EV Charger Reviews puts Texas in the No. 2 position among the worst states for owning an EV. Washington leads the pack of the worst EV states. Topping the list of the best states for EV owners is Maine, followed by Colorado and Vermont.

The ranking judged each state on these factors:

  • Number of registered EVs
  • Number of EVs per charging port
  • Ratio of one square mile per charging port
  • Cost of electricity
  • Annual cost savings for EV owners
  • Number of EVs per service center
  • EV tax credits

“Texas has cheaper electricity but a bad ratio of EVs registered to charging ports and service centers. The annual savings on gas money is only about $1,000, and there are no tax incentives,” says EV Charger Reviews.

Texas’ ranking stands in contrast to the presence in Austin of Tesla’s headquarters and a Tesla factory. The more than 10 million-square-foot, 25,000-acre factory serves as the U.S. manufacturing hub for Tesla’s electric-powered Model Y car and Cybertruck.

While thousands of Texans are driving Teslas and other EVs, they’re definitely in the minority.

Survey findings released in November 2023 by the University of Houston and Texas Southern University showed that only five percent of Texas motorists who were questioned drove an electric-powered car, truck, or SUV.

Nearly 60 percent of those who didn’t drive EVs said they wouldn’t consider buying one. Almost half (46 percent) cited the lack of charging stations as their chief reason for not wanting to own an EV.

“With such a small percentage of Texans currently owning electric vehicles, it looks like Texans will hold tight to their gas engines for the foreseeable future. Government incentives … have yet to make a difference among the state’s vehicle buyers,” according to a UH news release about the survey.

“But as charging stations grow in number, costs of operation decrease and — most important, the technology allows longer driving ranges — perhaps electric vehicles will start to earn their place in the garages of Texans.”

A Texas law that took effect in 2023 requires an EV owner to pay an extra $200 fee when they renew their vehicle registration or an extra $400 fee for their initial two-year registration.

In the latest installment of the Texas Trends survey, only 5.1 percent of Texans currently drive an electric-powered car, truck, or SUV. Photo via Getty Images

New report reveals EV adoption in Texas remains low

by the numbers

Interest in electric vehicles remains low in Texas, according to a recent report by University of Houston and Texas Southern University.

In the latest installment of the Texas Trends survey, only 5.1 percent of Texans currently drive an electric-powered car, truck, or SUV. Nearly 60 percent said they were not too likely or not at all likely to consider leasing or purchasing an electric vehicle in the future.

Respondents said that the largest factor in not opting for an EV was scarcity of charging stations. Other holdbacks included higher purchase prices, and not being able to charge an EV at home.

Acceptance of EVs did vary by respondents’ ethnicity, income, political affiliation and age:

-Asian-American respondents expressed the most interest (57 percent of respondents) in someday purchasing or leasing an EV.

-Those in the highest earning bracket voiced the highest interest in owning or leasing an EV one day. About 40% of those with an annual family income exceeding $80,000 said they'd consider an EV

-About 70% of Republicans and more than 60% of independents said they were not likely to ever buy or lease an EV

The researchers also posed an analysis to test if respondents would be more willing to purchase or lease an EV with lower purchasing prices, lower operating costs and decreased charging times. The factor that seemed to sway respondents most was length/duration of driving range on a single charge.

"If driving distances were longer on an EV’s single charge than with a full tank in a gas-powered vehicle–along with hypothetical situations lowered purchase prices, lowered operating costs and decreased charging times–respondents indicated they would go electric," according to a release from UH.

The EV portion of the report is the latest installment in the Texas Trends survey, a five-year project to study the state’s changing population and opinions, which was launched in 2021.

Other portions of the study focused on state propositions, school vouchers, primary elections, the summer heat wave and climate change.

The survey was conducted between Oct. 6 and Oct. 18 in English and Spanish for 1,914 respondents.

According to the report, 51 percent of Texans believe climate change significantly impacts extreme weather events. About 47 percent of those who acknowledge the impact of climate change on weather are likely to consider buying an electric vehicle.

About three-quarters (75.8 percent) of Texans describe the summer of 2023 as hotter than previous summers.

Meanwhile, the City of Houston has been working to accelerate EV adoption in the area.

Evolve Houston, founded through Houston's Climate Action Plan, awarded its inaugural eMobility Microgrant Initiative this summer to 13 groups, neighborhoods and an individual working to make electric vehicles accessible to all Houstonians.

The city also approved $281,000 funding for the expansion of free electric vehicle rideshare services in communities that are considered underserved by utilizing services like RYDE and Evolve Houston. Click here to read more.

Events not to miss, a new app launches for the energy industry, and more things to know this week. Photo via Getty Images

New energy networking app, events you can't miss, and more things to know in Houston this week

Hou knew?

Editor's note: It's a new week — start it strong with three quick things to know in Houston's energy transition ecosystem. Meet the new leaders of ERCOT, an app you probably should download, and events not to miss this week.

Energy networking: There's an app for that

This Houston-based media company launched a networking platform to help solve the energy crisis. Screenshots via apps.apple.com

The Digital Wildcatters have created a platform for individuals to get their questions answered by experts and a space for companies seeking qualified talent. Collide is structured to ignite the next generation of energy innovators, as Collin McLelland, co-founder and CEO of Digital Wildcatters, tells EnergyCapital.

“If you look at what we’ve done historically with Digital Wildcatters, we’ve built an extremely engaged community of energy professionals — it’s a next generation community, very young forward thinking professionals that are working towards solving the world’s energy crisis,” McLelland says.

The roll out of Collide has been intentionally gradual, McLelland says because they want to shape the user experience based on feedback from ongoing focus groups. Currently they have about 1,000 users and are examining how they can make the app valuable to them before providing the platform to a wider audience.

McLelland says there are two major issues within the energy sector that Collide hopes to address — a lack of knowledge about energy verticals and difficulty recruiting talent.

“What we really see with our platform is being able to bring people together where if you want to find a piece of information, you need to find a subject matter expert, or if you want to find your next job, it happens on the Collide platform,” McLelland says. Read the full story.

Upcoming must-attend events to put on your radar

Two events this month the energy transition community needs to know about. Photos by Jeff Fitlow/Rice University

  • September 14-15 — The Ninth Annual Digitalization in Oil & Gas Conference will focus on digitalization, decarbonization, and innovation within the energy industry across five tracks: IoT, blockchain, digital twins, edge computing, and connectivity for upstream, midstream, and downstream operators.
  • September 21 — The Rice Alliance Energy Tech Venture Forum is an opportunity to learn about the latest emerging technologies, meet investors to seek funding, see promising companies, and more.

People to know this week

A quick who's who roundup from last week's EnergyCapital coverage. Photo via Getty Images

Missed some of EnergyCapital's news from last week? Catch up on who to know here.

  • The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, announced a reorganization amongst its leadership. Effective September 1, four ERCOT leaders have new titles and positions: Woody Rickerson has been named to the newly created position of senior vice president and COO; KristiHobbs, who previously served as vice president of corporate strategy and public utility commission relations, will replace Rickerson as vice president of system planning and weatherization and will report directly to Rickerson; BettyDay, vice president of security and compliance and chief compliance officer, has assumed oversight of business continuity; and RebeccaZerwas will serve as director of state policy and public utility commission relations, board liaison. Read the full story.
  • Launched in 2022, The Texas Southern University Division for Research & Innovation is spearheading the institutions efforts in attaining the highest-tier classification for research in higher education institutions. Michelle Penn-Marshall, who serves as vice president for the division, recently sat down with the Houston Energy Transition Initiative to talk about the university’s mission to become a leader in research and the long-term goals for engaging students in the energy sector and advancing the energy transition. Read the full story.
  • With over a billion cars currently on the road — each with four tires that will eventually end up discarded, one Houstonian is hoping to create the infrastructure to sustainably dispose of tire waste now and into the future. VibhuSharma founded InnoVent Renewables to establish production facilities that utilize a proprietary continuous pyrolysis technology that is able to convert waste tires, plastics, and biomass into fuels and chemicals. In a Q&A with EnergyCapital, Sharma explains his plans to sustainably impact the tire waste space and his vision for his company. Read the full story.

Michelle Penn-Marshall, who serves as vice president for The Texas Southern University Division for Research & Innovation, answers questions from the Houston Energy Transition Initiative. Photo via htxenergytransition.org

Q&A: Texas Southern University leading the way in the energy transition


Launched in 2022, The Texas Southern University Division for Research & Innovation is spearheading the institutions efforts in attaining the highest-tier classification for research in higher education institutions.

Michelle Penn-Marshall, who serves as vice president for the division, recently sat down with HETI to talk about the university’s mission to become a leader in research and the long-term goals for engaging students in the energy sector and advancing the energy transition.

HETI: Can you give our audience an overview of the Division of Research & Innovation at Texas Southern University?

Michelle Penn-Marshall: The Division of Research and Innovation is the latest in Texas Southern University’s (TSU) efforts to attain the highest-tier classification for research in accordance with the Carnegie Classification of Research Institutions of Higher Education. As an elite Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Carnegie Classified R2 research institution, TSU provides meritorious research and innovation for the world-renowned Texas Medical Center and greater Houston community. The legacy of TSU is one of public service while responding to the needs of our stakeholders and community partners. The solutions and measured outcomes created through our research transforms high-performance computing, autonomous vehicles, energy, environmental and climate justice, cancer prevention, drug discovery, emergency preparedness and responsiveness, criminal justice, nutrition, transportation, affordable housing, health disparities and more. Maintaining our R2 status on a trajectory toward R1 status along with bringing in top talented scholars, researchers and principal investigators for our division will fortify our commitment and mission of providing data-driven solutions and outcomes for urban communities and beyond.

HETI: In partnership with HETI and several regional universities, Texas Southern University was recently named a semi-finalist for the National Science Foundation Engines grant. What role will TSU play in the program and how will your efforts help to advance the energy transition?

MPM: The Greater Houston Partnership and the Houston Energy Transition Initiative (HETI), in partnership with five regional universities, including Texas Southern University, the University of Houston, University of Texas at Austin, Rice University and Texas A&M University, were recently named semifinalists for the National Science Foundation Regional Innovation Engine (NSF Engines) program. Texas Southern University is recognized for embracing challenges and finding innovative solutions to contemporary issues and problems facing urban communities – more specifically traditionally marginalized and underrepresented stakeholders. As a catalyst for urban transformation, TSU is equipped to assist the region create a sustainable future in a manner that advances social equity and economic growth and sustainability. Investigating in areas that devise solutions toward producing more natural gas, a lower carbon alternative to coal and a complement to renewables. Collectively, we can all play an integral part to advance lowering carbon emissions in partnership with other like-minded researchers, institutions and collaborators.

HETI: The demand for green jobs seems to outpace the number of professionals with green skills. What are some ways that TSU is developing and enhancing students’ workforce skills to engage the energy workforce?

MPM: The Houston Energy Transition Initiative has the potential to advance our regional workforce across all skill levels ensuring an equitable energy transition throughout the region. This becomes out time to showcase our knowledge, skills and abilities in becoming the global exemplar for HETI. It is my charge to position TSU prominently in pursuing a comprehensive approach that will advance equity in innovation and entrepreneurship programs required for a just energy transition for all, including others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and those areas affected by environmental and social injustice in the region.

We can enhance students’ workforce skills by:

  • Aggressively participate in national events and programs that increase awareness of energy careers
  • Intentionally nurture partnerships with organizations and agencies that can support a diverse talent funnel that creates meaningful skill development for our students
  • Strategically assess the creation of certificate programs for energy careers and pathways at TSU

HETI: How can community partners, organizations and energy tech giants help to close the green skills gender gap?

MPM: Research and data recognize that women are over-represented in sectors that traditionally have paid less and don’t have the opportunities for pay progression and/or advancement. However, diversity of perspective and world views are essential for innovation and technological progression. Employers, partners, and energy companies should find ways to deliberately expose young women to sustainable career paths and role models. Ideally, this exposure and learning process must begin with young girls during the middle school years. Opportunities might include, but are not limited to, arranging for female engineers (It is paramount that we embrace and appreciate the governance of difference in all aspects in these emerging energy and technology fields and workspaces. We must nurture and celebrate the gifts and contributions from women in these spaces from all races, cultures and communities, but more specifically from underrepresented and marginalized groups – representation matters, it is of prime interest to our national security and future competing in a global marketplace.) to give public testimonies in schools or community settings and increase the opportunities for dedicated internship or apprenticeship programs for career-ready females. The ideas for prospects for exposure and learning are infinite.


This article originally ran on the Greater Houston Partnership's Houston Energy Transition Initiative blog. HETI exists to support Houston's future as an energy leader. For more information about the Houston Energy Transition Initiative, EnergyCapitalHTX's presenting sponsor, visit htxenergytransition.org.

Houston is in the running to receive millions from a program from the National Science Foundation. Photo via Getty Images

Houston named semifinalist for major NSF energy transition funding opportunity


The National Science Foundation announced 34 semifinalists for a regional innovation program that will deploy up to $160 million in federal funding over the next 10 years. Among the list of potential regions to receive this influx of capital is Houston.

The Greater Houston Partnership and the Houston Energy Transition Initiative developed the application for the NSF Regional Innovation Engine competition in collaboration with economic, civic, and educational leaders from across the city and five regional universities, including the University of Houston, The University of Texas at Austin, Texas Southern University, Rice University, and Texas A&M University.

The proposed project for Houston — called the Accelerating Carbon-Neutral Technologies and Policies for Energy Transition, or ACT, Engine — emphasizes developing sustainable and equitable opportunities for innovators and entrepreneurs while also pursuing sustainable and equitable energy access for all.

“The ACT Engine will leverage our diverse energy innovation ecosystem and talent, creating a true competitive advantage for existing and new energy companies across our region," says Jane Stricker, senior vice president of energy transition and executive director for HETI, in a statement. "Texas is leading the way in nearly every energy and energy transition solution, and this Engine can catalyze our region’s continued growth in low-carbon technology development and deployment."

If Houston's proposal is selected as a finalist, it could receive up to $160 million over 10 years. The final list of NSF Engines awards is expected this fall, and, according to a release, each awardee will initially receiving about $15 million for the first two years.

"Each of these NSF Engines semifinalists represents an emerging hub of innovation and lends their talents and resources to form the fabric of NSF's vision to create opportunities everywhere and enable innovation anywhere," NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan says in a news release. "These teams will spring ideas, talent, pathways and resources to create vibrant innovation ecosystems all across our nation."

The NSF selected its 34 semifinalists from 188 original applicants, and the next step for Houston is a virtual site visit that will assess competitive advantages, budget and resource plans for R&D and workforce development, and the proposed leadership’s ability to mobilize plans into action over the first two years.

"Houston is poised, like no other city, to lead the energy transition. The ACT Engine presents a remarkable opportunity to not only leverage the region's unparalleled energy resources and expertise but also harness our can-do spirit. Houston has a proven track record of embracing challenges and finding innovative solutions,” says Renu Khator, president of the University of Houston, in the statement. “Through the collaborative efforts facilitated by the ACT Engine, I am confident that we can make significant strides towards creating a sustainable future that harmonizes economic growth, environmental protection and social equity."

NSF Engines will announce awards this fall after a round of in-person interviews of finalists named in July. With Houston's track record for building thriving industry hubs in energy, health care, aerospace, and the culinary arts, the region is eager to establish the next generation of leaders and dreamers responding to some of the greatest economic and societal challenges ever seen in America.

“Our energy innovation ecosystem is inclusive, dynamic, and fast growing," says Barbara Burger, energy transition adviser and former Chevron executive, in the release. "The ACT Engine has the potential to increase the amount of innovation coming into the ecosystem and the capabilities available to scale technologies needed in the energy transition. I am confident that the members of the ecosystem — incubators, accelerators, investors, universities, and corporates — are ready for the challenge that the ACT Engine will provide."

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Chevron, TotalEnergies back energy storage startup's $15.8M series A

money moves

A California startup that's revolutionizing polymer cathode battery technology has announced its series A round of funding with support from Houston-based energy transition leaders.

LiNova Energy Inc. closed a $15.8 million series A round led by Catalus Capital. Saft, a subsidiary of TotalEnergies, which has its US HQ in Houston, and Houston-based Chevron Technology Ventures, also participated in the round with a coalition of other investors.

LiNova will use the funds with its polymer cathode battery to advance the energy storage landscape, according to the company. The company uses a high-energy polymer battery technology that is designed to allow material replacement of the traditional cathode that is made up of cobalt, nickel, and other materials.

The joint development agreement with Saft will have them collaborate to develop the battery technology for commercialization in Saft's key markets.

“We are proud to collaborate with LiNova in scaling up its technology, leveraging the extensive experience of Saft's research teams, our newest prototype lines, and our industrial expertise in battery cell production," Cedric Duclos, CEO of Saft, says in a news release.

CTV recently announced its $500 million Future Energy Fund III, which aims to lead on emerging mobility, energy decentralization, industrial decarbonization, and the growing circular economy. Chevron has promised to spend $10 billion on lower carbon energy investments and projects by 2028.

Houston innovation leaders secure SBA funding to start equitability-focused energy lab

trying for DEI

A group of Houston's innovation and energy leaders teamed up to establish an initiative supporting equitability in the energy transition.

Impact Hub Houston, a nonprofit incubator and ecosystem builder, partnered with Energy Tech Nexus to establish the Equitable Energy Transition Alliance and Lab to accelerate startup pilots for underserved communities. The initiative announced that it's won the 2024 U.S. Small Business Administration Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, or GAFC, Stage One award.

"We are incredibly honored to be recognized by the SBA alongside our esteemed partners at Energy Tech Nexus," Grace Rodriguez, co-founder and executive director of Impact Hub Houston, says in a news release. "This award validates our shared commitment to building a robust innovation ecosystem in Houston, especially for solutions that advance the Sustainable Development Goals at the critical intersections of industry, innovation, sustainability, and reducing inequality."

The GAFC award, which honors and supports small business research and development, provides $50,000 prize to its winners. The Houston collaboration aligns with the program's theme area of Sustainability and Biotechnology.

“This award offers us a great opportunity to amplify the innovations of Houston’s clean energy and decarbonization pioneers,” adds Juliana Garaizar, founding partner of the Energy Tech Nexus. “By combining Impact Hub Houston’s entrepreneurial resources with Energy Tech Nexus’ deep industry expertise, we can create a truly transformative force for positive change.”

Per the release, Impact Hub Houston and Energy Tech Nexus will use the funding to recruit new partners, strengthen existing alliances, and host impactful events and programs to help sustainable startups access pilots, contracts, and capital to grow.

"SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition Stage One winners join the SBA’s incredible network of entrepreneurial support organizations contributing to America’s innovative startup ecosystem, ensuring the next generation of science and technology-based innovations scale into thriving businesses," says U.S. SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman.


This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

Texas-based Tesla gets China's initial approval of self-driving software

global greenlight

Shares of Tesla stock rallied Monday after the electric vehicle maker's CEO, Elon Musk, paid a surprise visit to Beijing over the weekend and reportedly won tentative approval for its driving software.

Musk met with a senior government official in the Chinese capital Sunday, just as the nation’s carmakers are showing off their latest electric vehicle models at the Beijing auto show.

According to The Wall Street Journal, which cited anonymous sources familiar with the matter, Chinese officials told Tesla that Beijing has tentatively approved the automaker's plan to launch its “Full Self-Driving,” or FSD, software feature in the country.

Although it's called FSD, the software still requires human supervision. On Friday the U.S. government’s auto safety agency said it is investigating whether last year’s recall of Tesla’s Autopilot driving system did enough to make sure drivers pay attention to the road. Tesla has reported 20 more crashes involving Autopilot since the recall, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In afternoon trading, shares in Tesla Inc., which is based in Austin, Texas, surged to end Monday up more than 15% — its biggest one-day jump since February 2020. For the year to date, shares are still down 22%.

Tesla has been contending with its stock slide and slowing production. Last week, the company said its first-quarter net income plunged by more than half, but it touted a newer, cheaper car and a fully autonomous robotaxi as catalysts for future growth.

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives called the news about the Chinese approval a “home run” for Tesla and maintained his “Outperform” rating on the stock.

“We note Tesla has stored all data collected by its Chinese fleet in Shanghai since 2021 as required by regulators in Beijing,” Ives wrote in a note to investors. “If Musk is able to obtain approval from Beijing to transfer data collected in China abroad this would be pivotal around the acceleration of training its algorithms for its autonomous technology globally.”