Oregon, home to the nation’s first border-to-border electric highway, continues its emergence as the ultimate travel destination for electric vehicle drivers. On Friday, the Oregon Department of Transportation and its partners welcome snow sports enthusiasts – and EV drivers – to a celebration of zero emission recreation at the opening of America’s first EV fast charger installed on U.S. Forest Service land and at a ski resort. By using the growing West Coast Electric Highway fast-charger network, an EV driver can now travel up Mt. Hood’s rugged slopes, looming large at 11,250 feet and located just over an hour from Portland.
The Mt. Hood station completes Oregon’s “Mt. Hood-Columbia River Gorge Electric Byway.” Partners in this accomplishment include Travel Oregon, the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, U.S. Forest Service, AeroVironment, Portland General Electric and the Office of the Governor.
“The opening of the Mt. Hood fast charger marks a major milestone in Oregon’s efforts to support electric vehicle travel across the state, including to wild and scenic places and recreation destinations,” said Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber. “This not only helps minimize our environmental impact, it also creates an economic boost for small businesses located along Oregon Electric Byways.”
Oregon’s Chief EV Officer Ashley Horvat said Oregonians aren’t content to relegate EVs to city driving. “We see the potential to use EVs for long distance travel, helping us preserve Oregon’s landscapes for future generations to travel Oregon forever,” she said. One of the keys to success in supporting and growing EV adoption is reducing range anxiety, or concern abouthow far an EV can go before it needs re-charging. The new fast-charger at Mt. Hood Skibowl West will help put EV owners at ease.
“Nissan applauds the state of Oregon’s effort to increase range confidence for EV drivers through the rapid deployment of fast charging,” said Brendan Jones, Nissan’s director of EV Infrastructure Strategy. “Oregon is already one of the strongest Nissan LEAF markets, and robust public infrastructure plays a key role in increasing public consideration for EVs and the number of gas-free miles LEAF owners drive.”
“Oregon is changing the EV story, bringing drivers from a state of range awareness to range extension,” said Harry Dalgaard, Destination Development specialist at Travel Oregon.
With EV adoption on the rise, EV-ready recreation areas are crucial to expanding the range.
“It’s a natural fit to support infrastructure that promotes clean energy near forest recreation sites,” said U.S. Forest Service Zig Zag District Ranger Bill Westbrook.
“States across the country are enjoying the benefits that come with electric vehicles—cleaner air, clean energy and new jobs—something Oregonians can get behind,” said Max Baumhefner, attorney with Natural Resources Defense Council.
Strong public-private partnerships have been fundamental in shaping Oregon’s EV landscape.
“With Oregon’s commitment to developing EV-friendly routes, drivers will be empowered to further enjoy the state’s natural scenery while minimizing their environmental impact,” said Jana Hartline, environmental communications manager at Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.
EVENT DETAILS – Visit Oregon (the Land o’ Fast Chargers)
When: Friday, February 28, 2014; events begin at 2:00 p.m.
Where: Mt. Hood Skibowl West, 87000 E. Highway 26, Government Camp, OR 97028
Why: EV travelers get 50% off lift tickets & tubing.
Participants enjoy Next Adventure athlete stunts over Nissan Leaf, and the first 100 attendees receive tickets to exclusive screening of Warren Miller’s “Ticket to Ride.”
Prize giveaways include Next Adventure gear, $1,500 rebates for high efficiency SunPower solar energy system, $50 gift cards from SunPower, and an AeroVironment TurboCord giveaway.
Learn more about the event at www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/OIPP/pages/inn_ev-charging.aspx