May 14, 2024

Texas Electric Vehicle and EV Charging Laws


5 Min. Read

Even though Texas has the third-most EV registrations of any state, EV adoption remains somewhat limited statewide. Texans often struggle with finding charging stations and driving long distances in electric vehicles. Building more charging stations statewide could help.

Read on to learn more about EV adoption in the Lone Star State and Texas EV law.

How Does Texas View Electric Vehicles?

With over 149,000 EVs registered, Texas is the third-highest state for EV adoption after California and Florida. This number translates to around 5% of Texans driving EVs.

As the second largest state after Alaska, Texas’s driving distances are a common obstacle to EV adoption. In fact, 46% of Texans cite limited access to charging as their primary concern when asked about EV adoption.

But for the 83% of Texans living in urban areas, driving an EV for local trips is a viable option. EV adoption is much higher in cities, with the EV ownership rate reaching 2% in the city of Austin.

Electric Vehicle Charging Basics in Texas

Given the number of EVs on the roads, access to EV charging remains limited. Texas has more than 3,500 public charging locations including more than 3,000 Level 2 charging stations.

Texas doesn’t regulate EV charging providers as utilities, and this could facilitate the development of the charging infrastructure.

Even though access to public charging is spotty, the cost of charging makes EV ownership appealing to Texans. Residential rates are lower than the national average at $0.1458 per kWh, and commercial rates are even lower. A full charge can cost between $5 and $10 at home, making Texas one of the top ten states for affordable EV charging.

An Overview of Texas EV Laws

Texas passed two critical pieces of EV legislation in 2023. Senate Bills 1001 and 1002 aim to create more transparent pricing rules for EV charging.

Texas is also adopting EV charging standards in an effort to install an infrastructure that is compatible with as many EV models as possible.

These changes to Texas EV law will contribute to the development of a fair and competitive charging infrastructure.

On the other hand, Texas passed a measure to compensate for lost fuel tax revenues and support the State Highway Fund. EV drivers must now pay a one-time registration fee of $400, plus an annual renewal fee of $200. These costs could catch those considering an EV purchase off guard.

Notable EV Ordinances in Texas Cities

Texas is home to four different clean city coalitions. These programs forge partnerships between cities, businesses, utility providers, and other local stakeholders to identify electrification opportunities, including public EV charging projects.

Noteworthy examples of city ordinances include the city of Corinth and its updated zoning regulations. The city currently requires commercial parking lots to have at least one space dedicated to EV charging.

Some cities are encouraging electrification through rebates. For instance, the city of Denton is offering a rebate of up to $1,500 for an EV purchase.

The city of Dallas is taking a notable approach to supporting access to EV charging. After conducting a study, the city found that access to EV charging in multifamily properties remained a challenge and launched a campaign to educate property owners about benefits and federal incentives.

In Austin, under the Plug-In EVerywhere Program, participants can charge their EVs at any of the 1,000+ local Austin Energy level 2 charging ports in the public charging network. Austin Energy offers EV owners a rebate of 50% of the purchase and installation cost of a Level 2 charging station, up to a maximum of $1,200.

Significant Upcoming Changes to Texas EV Law

Texas Department of Transportation is studying charging needs for highways, cities, and rural areas in the state. This ongoing program will likely result in new charging projects in the coming years.

A proposed bill could introduce new permitting requirements for solar and wind projects, potentially slowing down the development of clean energy in Texas and consolidating natural gas’s position as the primary source of electricity generation.

At the local level, Austin could be the next city to adopt an updated building code with provisions for EV charging.

Do You Need a Permit for an EV Charger in Texas?

The answer is yes. Installing a hardwired EV charging station or a dedicated 240V outlet for a portable station entails performing electrical work that is subject to your local building and electric codes. You’ll have to apply for a permit to install a home EV charger since this process requires electrical work.

The requirements and application processes will vary from one jurisdiction to another, but virtually any EV charger installation project will require a permit. A licensed installer will know how to navigate local requirements and apply for the right permits. Reach out to your local building department for more information.

For more information to determine if your EV charger installation will need a permit, read Do I Need a Permit to Install an EV Charger At Home?

Texas EV Law: What Do I Need to Know About Charging My EV in Texas?

The public charging infrastructure remains somewhat limited unless you live in a major metropolitan area, making charging at home the best option for most EV owners in the state.

Plus, several utility providers offer rebates and other programs for at-home charging that you can combine with federal incentives. For instance, CPS Energy offers an energy credit of $250, and Southwestern Electric Power Company customers can qualify for a rebate of up to $250 on an Energy Star charging station.

Residential solar is also worth exploring and can be an affordable way to charge your EV at home. Texas offers a property tax exemption that makes going solar appealing, and the cost of materials is lower than ever.

Explore EV Charging Options in Texas with Qmerit

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Join us in our mission to transform our planet to a more sustainable, energy-resilient, electric-powered future. Contact us today to learn more about EV adoption and at-home charging in Florida or complete our online EV assessment to receive a custom quote for more information.

Author: Greg Sowder

Greg Sowder

President, Qmerit Network