The Oregon Department of Transportation, along with charging station partner AeroVironment and the Oregon Department of Energy, opened the first phase of the West Coast Electric Highway. Eight charging station hubs with two outlets at each location are now available for public use.
Two more will be installed soon north of Cottage Grove as part of this first phase. Together, these stations will provide EV owners access to a network of electric “refueling” spots along Interstate 5 in Oregon, paid for by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds through the Department of Energy.
“As the first state in the nation to establish an EV charging infrastructure along a major interstate, Oregon is leading the EV pathway and supporting adoption of the next phase in the evolution of transportation,” said Pat Egan, chair of the Oregon Transportation Commission and vice president of customer and community affairs for Pacific Power. “Once Oregon’s segment of the West Coast Electric Highway is completed, EV drivers will be able to travel from Ashland to Portland at a fraction of the cost of filling a gas tank and with no direct emissions.”
The West Coast Electric Highway will eventually allow EV drivers to travel from San Diego to Vancouver, B.C. without relying on carbon-based fuel. “Fast” charging stations, included at each of the newly operational locations, can provide a full charge for an EV in less than 30 minutes; soon, these stations will dot interchanges up and down I-5.
“Plug-in vehicles are increasing in popularity, with many new models coming to market in 2012,” said Art James, senior project executive with the Oregon Department of Transportation. “We wanted to develop state-of-the-art charging infrastructure to support them, and AeroVironment has helped us provide Oregon EV owners the ability to travel from community to community”
Spaced at roughly 25 miles apart along the southern Oregon I-5, AeroVironment EV installed the charging stations at convenient locations in Cottage Grove, Rice Hill, Roseburg, Canyonville, Wolf Creek, Grants Pass, Central Point, and Ashland. Each location has two charging stations including one DC “fast” charger. Plans call for more than 40 additional charging stations from AeroVironment to be operational in Oregon and Washington by the end of the year.
“With the price of gas increasing, Oregon wants to provide more transportation alternatives,” said Oregon Department of Energy Director Bob Repine. “It’s important that Oregonians have clean transportation options.”
Electric vehicle drivers will be able to activate access to the charging stations by signing up for the AV Charging Network at evsolutions.com/avnetwork.or by calling toll-free at 888-833-2148. Once enrolled, EV drivers will receive an AV Network key fob that will allow access to all AeroVironment chargers along the West Coast Electric Highway. AeroVironment is also providing free charging for a limited time, giving EV drivers freedom and convenience on the open road.
“Oregon has firmly established itself as a leader in the clean transportation movement,” said Wahid Nawabi, AeroVironment senior vice president and general manager of its Efficient Energy Systems business segment. “Together, AeroVironment, the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Oregon Department of Energy are delivering on the promise of transportation that promotes energy independence and frees drivers from fluctuating gas prices.”