Confronting the problems Texans have with electric vehicles

Houston – Houston maybe the energy capital and wants to be a leader in the energy-transition, but people aren’t speeding over to their local dealership to make the switch to electric vehicles.

KPRC2 wanted to get the root of the issue.

A survey by the University of Houston and Texas Southern University found little enthusiasm for electric vehicles.

“The survey found that few Texans currently owned or leased an electric vehicle, and only about one in 10 said they would be very likely to consider owning or leasing one in the future,” said Gail Buttorff, Instructional Assistant Professor at the UH Hobby School of Public Affairs.

She added, “When we broke it down by generation, the majority of Gen Z and Millennial Texans said they were either very or somewhat likely to consider purchasing or leasing one in the future. And the opposite was true of the two older generation surveyed.”

Why Not Electric?

So, why not electric? What is driving people away from EVs? “The number one reason was cost,” said Buttorff. She added, “And the second reason was the lack of charging stations.”

The Cost

A large part of the cost comes from the battery, what it’s made of and how long the battery will last.

Lithium-ion batteries contain cobalt, nickel, copper and aluminum.

All of their prices are way up.


  • Cobalt: +55.86%
  • Aluminum: +54.53%
  • Nickel: +198.17%
  • Copper: +10.36%

Like a phone battery, eventually overtime it holds less of a charge.

A lab in Houston is working to solve these two problems.

Dr Yan Yao is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Houston.

Yao took us inside his lab at the University of Houston.

UH Researchers Receive $4.4M to Develop Clean Energy Technologies

He’s working on a new battery that is lithium and transition metal-free.

He’s also working to make the battery last longer and charge faster.

Improving the Infrastructure

So, the cost will go down. But what about the infrastructure?

How are you supposed to re-charge at your home or on your commute to work?

“Although Houston is the energy capital of the world a lot of the big oil and gas companies in the city have made big investments in EV and EV technology,” said Harry Tenenbaum with Evolve Houston. He added, “There are organizations like Shell Recharge Solutions that are coming in with public charging solutions. The utilities, like Centerpoint and some of the energy providers like NRG are making big investments in their power production and their grids just to accommodate for the extra demand for EV charging.


The EPA announced by 2030 it wants 50% of vehicles on the road to be alternative energy.

“Evolve Houston’s goal matches the federal government’s goal,” said Tenenbaum.

Electric vehicles are not something new.

They’ve been around for over 100 years.

If you’re a history buff, or if you or your child like cars we put together a cool history about cars.

TIMELINE: History of the Electric Vehicle

Edison and an electric car, 1913. To Edison and others, electric cars seemed preferable to finicky, smoking gasolene-powered cars. However, refinements to internal-combustion technology brought performance advantages that early battery-powered cars could not match. (National Museum of American History)

About the Authors:

Award-winning broadcast journalist covering local, regional, national and international stories. Recognized in the industry for subject matter expertise including: Legal/Court Research, the Space Industry, Education, Environmental Issues, Underserved Populations and Data Visualization.

Emmy-winning investigative reporter, insanely competitive tennis player, skier, weightlifter, crazy rock & roll drummer (John Bonham is my hero). Husband to Veronica and loving cat father to Bella and Meemo.