All Episodes

[eLab Extra #5] – EVs and More in Austin, TX

This is a special, free "extra" episode recorded at RMI’s eLab Annual Summit in December 2016 in Austin, Texas.

Through a variety of programs, Austin Energy, the eighth largest publicly-owned electric utility in the U.S., has led the way to an EV future in Texas, installing the first EV charging infrastructure in the region, offering rebates for installing charging stations and the ability to charge up at 250 charging stations throughout the city for a low flat rate using 100% renewable energy. Karl Popham, the Electric Vehicle & Emerging Technologies Manager at Austin Energy, explains how he did it and what other similarly positioned utility leaders can do in an interview from RMI’s eLab Annual Summit 2016.


The views, opinions, and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments on these podcasts are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of Rocky Mountain Institute or any employee thereof.


Karl Popham has been the original Electric Vehicle & Emerging Technologies Manager at Austin Energy since the team was created in 2011. As such he has had the unique viewpoint to lead the strategy, operations, business marketing, program development, and deployment for what is regarded as one of the most comprehensive utility Electric Vehicle programs in the nation. This includes the roll-out of the Plug-in EVerywhere™ network, rebate programs, marketing campaigns, the “Electric Drive” project, EV-grid integration work, a Time of Use EV rate, and winning 5 out of 5 US Department of Energy grants totaling over $7M to help fund program elements. Karl has been the US Department of Energy Principal Investigator on two successfully completed transportation electrification grants and is currently serving in this capacity on the utility’s DOE grant-funded SHINES project to integrate PV solar, storage, smart inverters, and advanced system controls. He is an active speaker, research contributor, and serves on several boards including SXSW Eco, Energy Thought Summit, Austin Forum on Technology & Society, and the Electric Power Research Institute. You can read his articles on transportation electrification and utility emerging trends in such magazines as Transmission & Distribution World and CIO Insights. Prior to his current role, he was Austin Energy’s interim Chief Information Officer and Division Manager of its Program Management Office, a Director with Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, and a Captain in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Founded in 1895, Austin Energy is a fully integrated utility and the nation’s 8th largest publicly owned electric utility that owns and operates generation, transmission, distribution, and customer engagement. It has industry-leading climate protection goals to include a 55% renewable energy target by 2025 that its well on track to achieve.

On the Web: Austin Energy | Karl Popham’s LinkedIn profile

Recording date: December 9, 2016

Air date: January 18, 2017

Geek rating: 3