Fast-charging 480-volt Level 3 battery chargers will be installed in Oregon next to Interstate 5 for a stretch of 150 miles, from the border with California to near Eugene. They use the CHAdeMO specification, one that is compliant with three Japanese-made electric vehicles: the Nissan Leaf, SubaruR1e and Mitsubishi i-Miev. “Fast charging stations along high-traffic transportation corridors will help make driving electric vehicles between communities a viable option for Oregonians”, said the the director of the Oregon Transportation department. (Source: CNET.com)
It isn’t completely clear if this type of fast-charger is compatible with the electric Ford Focus. An article on Engadget.com said it wasn’t likely the electric Focus would be able to use DC fast-charging. However, this article was written in January of this year, and things are changing quickly in the EV domain.
The fast-charging stations have been said to charge a car battery in thirty minutes, eighty to 100 percent full. There is a potential problem with fast-chargers though. Using them on a regular basis can cause the Leaf’s battery pack to age prematurely, meaning it won’t last as long as it can. Nissan has said not to fast charge the Leaf on a daily basis.
So far no one knows what will happen exactly in real driving situations, except the few current Leaf owners, but reports have pegged the Leaf’s driving at 62-100 miles per charge. If you were driving on the freeway in the section of Oregon with fast chargers, you could recharge once, spend thirty minutes doing it, and extend your trip about about 60 miles or maybe a little more. As Auto Week pointed out, with electric cars you have to be careful about planning longer trips, and note the exact miles between destinations, or you might run out of juice.
It would be a mistake to not mention the Tesla Roadster in relation to the fast charger installations in Oregon. This very fast electric sports car has been said to have a range of 244 miles per charge, although of course, like all electric vehicles the range depends upon weather, road conditions, and how efficient the driver is. In other words, a Tesla Roadster might be able to go from just within California to the end of the charging station stretch in Eugene, and then all the way to Portland. Not many people can afford the Tesla due to its’ six figure price, but Tesla is making a sedan that will cost much less and reports indicate it might have a 300 mile range.
Oregon’s fast chargers are made by AeroVironment, which also makes drones.
Image Credit: Public Domain