First section of West Coast Electric Highway powers up in Oregon

Spaced at 25-mile intervals along I-5 in southern Oregon, each of the eight locations has two charging stations, including one DC fast charger.

 

The first phase of the West Coast Electric Highway, a network of EV charging stations that will eventually stretch along Interstate 5 between the Canadian and Mexican borders, opened for business today in southern Oregon. The project was overseen by the Oregon Departments of Transportation and Energy, using $915,000 in federal stimulus funding.

Spaced at 25-mile intervals along I-5 in southern Oregon, each of the eight locations has two charging stations, including one DC fast charger, which can provide a full charge for an EV in less than 30 minutes. Plans call for 40 more stations to be operational in Oregon and Washington by the end of the year.

AeroVironment (NASDAQ: AVAV), a California company that makes a variety of high-tech products, provided the chargers. Drivers can gain access by signing up for AeroVironment’s Charging Network online or by phone. The company will offer free charging for a limited time.

“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. “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.”

“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.”

“Oregon has firmly established itself as a leader in the clean transportation movement,” said AeroVironment VP Wahid Nawabi. “Together, AeroVironment, the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Oregon Department of Energy are delivering on the promise of transportation that promotes energy independence and frees drivers from fluctuating gas prices.”