Owners of electric vehicles (EVs) in the Pacific Northwest will soon be able to find electric car fast chargers along Interstate-5 in Oregon. By the end of this year, the major corridor that runs from the Canadian border down to Mexico, through Washington, Oregon and California, will include a series of fast-charging stations to help travelers top off EV batteries in about 30 minutes.
The initial installations will be in Southern Oregon, and will be one of the first links in the “Green Highway” that will eventually run the length of the West Coast of the United States. Eight level 3 DC fast charging stations will be available between Eugene, Oregon and the North California border. Each station will be about 30 miles apart, in convenient places such as gas stations where travelers can use restrooms and purchase small items. California-based AeroVironment will install the electric car fast chargers under a $700,000 federal stimulus grant.
Construction of the fast-charging stations will begin this summer, and should be completed by December. While there are not yet a large number of drivers that own electric cars, installing the infrastructure that will make it easier to recharge on the fly will decrease so-called “range anxiety” and perhaps convince more consumers to go electric. With fast-charging stations, drivers will be able to travel more than the usual 100 miles that an EV can travel on a single charge.
Level 3 electric car fast chargers use 480 volts and can boost a 45-kilowatt battery (like the one in the 100% electric Nissan Leaf) from 20% charge to 80% in less than 30 minutes. The fast-charging stations use a universal connection on a cable that plugs into the car.
The planned installation of the electric car charging stations along Interstate 5 in Oregon is one of a number of EV infrastructure projects on the horizon. The EV Project (separate from this one) is installing 14,000 charging stations in six states (including Oregon, Washington and California) and the District of Columbia. Next year, electric car fast chargers will be found along the Oregon Coast, over the Cascade Mountains and along Interstate 84, as well.