⚡Shock me like an electric vehicle
Source: Texas Department of Motor Vehicles
- 6 min read

⚡Shock me like an electric vehicle

Plus, what the heck should you put in your green compost bin?

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Introduction

☀️ Happy Hump Day, Austin.

Today, we're chatting Austin's adoption of electric vehicles, including how the Texas grid could power them all.

Then, learn how to actually use your green compost bin, and peep what to do if a thunderstorm rolls in when you're boating on Lake Travis.


Austin is full steam ahead for an electric future

We know you’ve all seen them.

The Teslas roaming town with some god-awful vanity license plates.

There’s a reason why so many are here, besides Austin being Tesla’s HQ: Travis County has one of the biggest electric vehicle counts in the state.

Austin truly is the little blueberry that could in the tomato soup of Texas.

Let’s dive into Austin’s EV future.

Where is Austin in EV adoption?

Besides California and Florida, Texas has more registered EVs than any other U.S. state.

There are 266,243 EVs registered in Texas as of March 26, per a Texas Department of Motor Vehicles dashboard.

Besides Harris County (AKA Houston), the most registered EVs are in Travis County (AKA A-Town, baby).

Why? Might have something to do with all the high-earning, environmental-minded folks who live here.

Source: Texas Department of Motor Vehicles


And, unsurprisingly, more than half of the EVs registered in all of Texas are Teslas. 

Most EV owners charge their cars at home with charging stations. Renters are less in luck.

They're more likely to use the 1,500 charging stations dotting the town that city-owned Austin Energy oversees (they’re managed by EVgo, Tesla and ChargePoint, among other common charging station companies). And they’re all powered by renewable Texas wind energy. Cool, huh?

Here’s the thing, though: Only 30 of the 1,500 chargers take less than an hour to charge an EV battery almost to 100%. They cost 21 cents per minute.

The rest of the city’s stations take ~4 hours to charge an EV to that point, for a $4.17 monthly membership.

So we could use a few more, to say the least.

OK, how about gov’t incentives?

🚗 You can get a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 if you buy an EV.

🚗 Texas offers a $2,500 rebate if you buy one, though only 2,000 applications are accepted annually (and it’s already not accepting any more this year).

🚗 Austin Energy offers rebates up to $1,200 for home stations that take a few hours to charge. It also offers $4,000 rebates for commercial entities, like apartment complexes, to build charging stations and $10,000 rebates to build the fast-charging ones.

There is the whole annual registration fee thing, though. EV owners have to dole out $200 a year ($400 up front upon purchasing an EV), compared to ~$70 for gasoline-powered cars in Travis County. That’s to make up for the would-be gas tax revenue that Texas would be getting to fund road construction, like all of Austin’s toll roads.

Gas tax funds have dried up in recent decades for a handful of reasons, one being that more folks started gravitating toward vehicles that don’t run on gas.

When our cars are at the mercy of The Grid 

🚗
Austin aims to see 500,000 EVs on its streets by 2030 with 37,000 charging stations as part of its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. ERCOT estimates Texas will have 1 million EVs by 2028.

If that many of our cars will be running on electricity, we’ll need our trusty old friend, the Texas Electric Grid, to be reliable.

Most EV charging happens at night, and each EV takes less power from a home charger than an electric furnace does, KVUE laid out last year.

But ERCOT is still aware of its task at hand: factoring in how the state’s growing adoption of EVs will affect the grid’s load impact in the future.

ERCOT could have some help, though: There’s talk about using our state’s EV charging infrastructure to share power with the grid and help balance supply and demand.

Anything to prevent another February 2021 ice storm Armageddon … *shudder*

What do you think about Austin’s electric vehicle adoption? Reply to this email and give us all those thoughts.

— Katie Canales, Editor


Temperature: 70 degrees | Sun: Hidden | What to Expect: Scattered rain/storms

Grab the umbrella before heading out the door, even if we start the day cloudy and dry, we could end it with some scattered showers and thunderstorms. Outside of the rain chance, temperatures will be comfortable with a light south wind.

Mary’s Tip: Opt for happy hour at a place with both indoor and outdoor seating, so you can make a game-time decision if it rains when you go. Might we suggest the South First Polvo's?


Composting 101 — i.e. how the heck are you supposed to use those green bins? 

Every house has them ... or at least has access to them. So let's break down how they work, what you should and shouldn't put in them and a few tips for making composting easier.

First, how to get a green compost bin. 

As part of your City of Austin utility bill, you already pay for composting, recycling and the bi-annual large brush and bulk collection. Only the trash collection service is an extra charge, based on the size of your trash bin. 

But if you still don’t have a green compost bin at home, call Austin Resource Recovery at 512-494-9400.

What goes in the bin? 

Remember: If it grows, it goes. 

That means food scraps, yard clippings, dead plants and even food-soiled paper or cardboard products (like your greasy pizza boxes!) all belong in the green bin. Plus, unlike most backyard composts, the city’s program accepts raw or cooked meat, bones, egg shells and dairy. (There’s one reason to take advantage of the city’s program.) 

But there are a few things you might assume go in that don’t

  • Clothing
  • Cotton balls and swabs
  • Glossy paper
  • Kitty litter, pet waste and animal carcasses
  • Wine corks and wood that is treated or painted
  • Liquids (including fats, oils and grease)

Here's the city's handy-dandy full list of what's allowed and what's not.

Won’t it be stinky? 

Not any worse than your normal trash. But to help combat odors, make sure to bring your can to the curb each week even if it’s not full and rinse it out every few months. Really want to avoid the mess? Gather your food waste in a BPI-Certified compostable bag before putting it in the bin. 

Can I get some of the compost made from my food scraps?

Yes, but not for free. The stuff in your bin is turned into compost by Organics by Gosh. They produce a variety of products you can purchase for your gardens and backyard projects.

However, the city does offer free mulch that can be picked up by scheduling an appointment at the Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center


Boating season is upon us. But what happens when a T-storm hits?

A fun day on the lake can turn into a nightmare if you're not prepared, so always keep an eye on the weather when planning a day out on the water. Thunderstorms can quickly pop up with dangerous lightning, gusty winds and torrential downpours. 

The odds of a boat being struck by lightning are one in 1,000, according to the boaters group BoatUS. A lightning strike on a boat can be catastrophic, especially if it results in fire or damages electronics. 

If you see towering clouds and it's thundering in the distance, it's best to pack up and head to shore. However, if you’re stuck out on the water, here are some ways to stay safe: 

If your boat has a cabin, then stay inside and avoid touching metal. 

If your boat doesn't have a cabin, try to stay as low as possible in the boat. 

Make sure you lower fishing rods and stow them safely. 

Stay out of the water.

Remember what your mom used to say, "It's better to be safe than sorry!" Boating safety begins ashore with planning and training. Keep in mind that thunderstorms are usually brief, so waiting it out is often better than riding it out.

Leaves more time for a snack (or beer) break, too.

— Mary Wasson, Meteorologist


Were so glad you found us. Find our bios and contact info here, or reach out at hello@austindaily.com. Behind todays send: Katie Canales, Cat DeLaura and Mary Wasson.