Houston public car charging stations launch this week

Houston became the first major U.S. city to announce an electric vehicle charging network in November with the launch of NRG Energy subsidiary eVgo.

Now it’s finally getting the chargers to match the announcement.

A number of electric car owners signed up with the company for in-home charging stations in the past year, but this week will see the opening of the first of the network’s public charging stations.

The so-called “Freedom Station” will be located at the H-E-B Buffalo Market at the intersection of Buffalo Speedway and Bissonnet Street.

The station, which workers were installing today, is located on the former site of Buffalo Grille (actually right about where the coffee serving area was — I could almost smell the pepper bacon as I stood there).

Each station allows for two cars to charge simultaneously. They will have a 480-volt DC fast charger able to charge an EV at a  rate of 160 miles of range per hour (or about 30 miles in as little as 10 minutes) and a 240-volt Level 2 charger that can add up to 25 miles of  range in an hour.

Three additional Freedom Station sites will open within the next two weeks at  the Shops at Houston Center in downtown Houston (NRG’s local headquarters are near there, not-so-coincidentally), the Walgreens at 19710 Holzwarth Street and the Walgreens at 8942 West Sam Houston Parkway North.

There will be 25 Freedom Stations around Houston by the end of 2011 and 25 more in 2012 with additional stations  located on the grounds of retailers such as H-E-B, Best Buy, and other retailers.