Auto manufacturers might be taking it slow when it comes to electric vehicles, but that doesn’t mean enthusiasm for advanced technology cars has waned. At least not on the West Coast.
Oregon recently celebrated the opening of its new ‘electric highway’, a purposeful placement of EV charging stations that makes it possible to juice up an electric car every 25 miles down a 200-mile stretch of Interstate 5. The state’s electric highway extends the California border north to the Oregon city of Cottage Grove, and is part of a larger effort to encourage EV owners to get out on the open road.
The West Coast Electric Highway is part of a collaborative effort to encourage the adoption and use of electric and alternative-fuel vehicles along the I-5 corridor. Washington, Oregon and California and the province of British Columbia, have all pledged to build an extensive, tri-state network of fast charging stations so that EV owners will feel comfortable traveling up and down the coast.
Just a few weeks ago, EV advocates celebrated the official opening of the another major section of the Electric Highway. A dozen electric vehicle drivers traveled over the Cascade Mountains to inaugurate the US Hwy 2 Stevens Pass Scenic Byway as the nation’s first EV-Friendly Tourism Corridor. This section of the West Coast Electric Highway stretches between Seattle and Wenatchee, Washington, and features three DC fast-charging stations and several Level 2 stations which provide specialized faster charge that uses a new industry standard called the “J-1772″ connector. Fast charging stations can only by select vehicles that are equipped with special charging technologies.
Since “range anxiety,” the fear of running out of electrical energy while far from a charging station, is a major deterrent to EV ownership, these states hope that creating robust infrastructure will convince more people that EVs are reliable, and safe for long distance travel.
At the end of 2012, when the combined projects are complete, the West Coast will have the nation’s longest and most robust charging network with thousands of Level 2 charging pedestals and more than 100 DC fast chargers. Click here for more on charging station locations and how to pay for your charge.
Image via OregonDOT/Flickr