Electric Vehicles Gaining Popularity in Texas
by Amy Stansbury
Buzz Smith works at a Chevrolet dealership in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but he is not your average car salesman. Smith is a self-proclaimed “EVangelist”, which means that he specializes in selling electric vehicles, cars that run on battery power.
As an electric vehicle sales professional, Smith’s position is unique because while it’s true that electric vehicle sales are growing, it’s still a pretty new market. This is especially true in places like Texas, where environmental regulations are not as robust as in other states, such as California, and the truck still reigns supreme. That’s why there is a growing movement of people who are working hard to overcome these barriers and to make electric vehicles a more appealing choice for Texans.
Smith serves on the board of the Texas Electric Transportation Resources Alliance (TxETRA), a new nonprofit organization whose mission is to “guide and accelerate the adoption of electrical transportation in all its forms, in the most cost-effective way, providing maximum benefit to the citizens of Texas.”
While TxETRA works on developing policy recommendations for state and local governments, Smith walks the talk every single day at Classic Chevrolet, in Grapevine. He helped to create a special plug-in vehicle education center (based upon the model of an Apple store) at his dealership to allow customers to learn what it’s like to own an electric car even when a salesperson isn’t available to meet with them.
Austin’s publicly-owned electric utility, Austin Energy, is also a big supporter of electric vehicles. They manage more than 650 public EV charging ports at libraries, grocery stores and businesses around town. As part of their Plug-In EVerywhere program, they offer Austin residents unlimited access to the charging stations for only $4.17 a month.
It’s not just the city of Austin that is making this push. The federal government is currently offering a $7,500 electric vehicle tax credit, and the state of Texas is promoting a $2,500 electric vehicle rebate.
Despite assumptions that Texans won’t buy electric vehicles, Smith says that things are changing. “They think they just won’t sell well in Texas,” he notes. “I think General Motors (GM) has been surprised at the sales of electric vehicles in Texas.”
Buzz Smith is the electric vehicle professional at Classic Chevrolet, 1101 W. State Hwy. 114, in Grapevine. For more information, call 817-421-7215, email BuzzSmith@ClassicChevrolet.com or visit ClassicChevrolet.com.
Amy Stansbury is editor-in-chief of the Austin EcoNetwork, Austin’s local environmental news source. Subscribe to their weekly newsletter by visiting AustinEcoNetwork.com/subscribe-to-the-econews/.