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    Texas Revs Up Electric Charging Stations

    Walgreens will host 18 of the eVgo sites at its Houston-area stores.

    DALLAS -- The eVgo chain of charging stations for electric vehicles had its official "coming-out" party last week in Dallas, according to CNET News.

    The first U.S. commercial chain of charging stations, eVgo (pronounced ee-vee-go), will reportedly have a total of 60 electric-vehicle charging stations in place by Labor Day. eVgo is owned by NRG EV Services, a subsidiary of NRG Energy, one of the largest electricity providers in Texas.

    NRG EV Services and eVgo have not yet announced their specific pricing structure and plans for station customers, but eVgo did say it plans to offer a subscription service through which customers get unlimited access to its stations for a set monthly fee, according to the CNET report. eVgo also announced it is developing a smartphone app that will alert users to nearby charging stations.

    The eVgo network announced in November that it had partnered with some leading Texas retailers to provide space in their parking lots for charging stations, including Walgreens.

    The Walgreens pharmacy chain will host 18 of the rapid-charging stations at its Houston-area stores. Other partners include electronics retailer Best Buy, stores in the HEB supermarket chain and the airport parking company Park N' Fly.

    The eVgo network will consist of two types of charging stations: 480-volt DC rapid chargers, which take about 30 minutes to recharge an electric vehicle, and 240-volt Level 2 chargers, which take about four hours to recharge a vehicle.

    The eVgo "Freedom Stations" will be open 24 hours a day, and offer both types of chargers. Twenty-five of those will be open in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and 35 in the Houston area by Labor Day. A total of 70 will be in place in the Dallas/Fort Worth Area and 50 in the Houston area by 2012, according to NRG.

    Eventually, eVgo also plans to roll out "convenience stations" that will be limited to 240-volt Level 2 chargers, and only open for service during the business hours of the retailer hosting the station.


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