Evolve Houston, alongside the University of Houston, the city of Houston and other founding partners, reinforced their commitment to widespread electrification during its relaunch event August 18 at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
Hosted by ABC 13’s Miya Shay, the event saw attendees hear from key people that have been involved in Evolve Houston’s work toward accelerating adoption of electric vehicles.
“The relaunch of Evolve is an indication of Houston’s commitment to our net zero future,” said Executive Director of the Houston Energy Transition Initiative Jane Stricker.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner was first to speak, applauding recent legislature benefiting the energy transition and noted the City of Houston’s willingness to continue leading electrification efforts.
“The City of Houston has an energy transition plan. Whether you are Republican or Democrat this new bill [Clean Energy for America Act or S.B. 1298] is something that we can be happy about,” Turner said. “We will lead by example … we want to continue to wear the [energy capital of the world] crown.”
Professor of Architecture and board member of the Transportation Air Quality Committee Bruce Race said UH is excited about the future of Evolve through this relaunch and beyond. With an eye toward clearing the hurdle of EV accessibility, Race said UH is fully committed to supporting Evolve in its goal of mass electrification.
“UH continues to support the Evolve agenda as research partners. Research supports innovation,” Race said. “We are redoubling our efforts to bring resources to help fund and strategically invest in EV infrastructure and equity.”
Casey Brown, the newly-minted executive director of Evolve Houston, discussed Evolve’s latest plans and aspirations for EV adoption, the highlight of those plans being the launch of the eMobility Microgrant Initiative.
This program will facilitate a peer-review process to award microgrants to local electromobility "eMobility" projects that address community mobility needs in the Greater Houston area.
"Evolve Houston is committed to supporting a just transition to a more sustainable transportation system, so all residents can receive the benefits of eMobility. The Greater Houston area has made significant progress in improving livability. We must continue and bring the eMobility revolution to Houston's communities that remain disproportionately in need of a cleaner environment, better services, and diversified economic development," said Grace Millsap, Evolve Houston Director of Equity and Investment. "Evolve's eMobility Microgrant Initiative will empower and elevate residents' voices, drive further community investment, and prioritize the communities who are most impacted by climate and mobility challenges."
Brown went on to explain an aggressive ‘#50by30’ campaign where Evolve Houston aims to accelerate electric transportation to where half of new vehicles sold in the Greater Houston area would be EVs.
Although this may seem like a lofty goal, Brown shared that EVs made up 8% of all new vehicles sold in the first half of this year. The numbers indicate that EV sales are on track to surpass last year’s figures nearly two-fold, which is just one aspect of an encouraging development for electrifying transportation in Texas.
“It’s great progress, but let me tell you, we’re just getting started,” he said.