West Coast Electric Highway opens for traffic

A 160-mile stretch of Interstate 5 in Oregon is now up and running, with EV charging stations located every 25 miles along the route.
Written by Channtal Fleischfresser, Contributor

Electric vehicle owners driving up the northwest coast of the U.S. need no longer fear the so-called 'range anxiety' that plagues EV motorists.

On March 16, the first section of the futuristically-named West Coast Electric Highway opened for traffic along Interstate 5 in Oregon. Along the 160-mile stretch of highway, running from Ashland to Cottage Grove, public charging stations have been installed at 25-mile intervals. These stations are located off the highway near restaurants, gas stations and other highway businesses.

Each location includes a 480-volt Level 3 D.C. fast-charger, which can reportedly charge 80 percent of a Nissan Leaf's battery in up to 25 minutes, as well as a 220-volt Level 2 charger, which can charge a typical electric car in four to seven hours. The Level 2 chargers are necessary, since some EVs and plug-in hybrids do not have fast-charge ports.

The Oregon portion of the 'electric highway' is expected be completed early next year, and the entire highway will eventually stretch along Interstate 5 from Vancouver, British Columbia, all the way to San Diego. The charging stations in Oregon and eventually in Washington will be operated by AeroVironment, an electric infrastructure company. At the moment, Oregon users may charge their cars for free, but they must register for an ID card in order to use the charging stations.

Photo: AeroVironment

via [New York Times]

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