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Oregon's first electric vehicle charging corridor goes live
03/19/2012
 
Cruising the open road is now a little closer to reality for electric vehicle owners in the Pacific Northwest.
 
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 on I-5 through southern Oregon. The eight charging station hubs provide electric vehicle (EV) owners a network of electric “refueling” stations along a major transportation artery in southern Oregon. Two more stations, located along I-5 north of Cottage Grove, will complete this first phase and will be joining the network later this spring, creating a network that will link the Willamette Valley and the Rogue Valley.
 
“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 new EV charging stations were paid for by $915,000 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding through the Oregon Department of Energy’s State Energy Program.
 
“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 section of 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 a total of 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.”
 
For more on ODOT’s EV charging infrastructure projects, visit the department’s electric vehicles webpage.