Washington State DOT breaks ground on West Coast Electric Highway

Construction began Wednesday on a public EV charging station in Bellingham, Washington, the first in a network that the state plans to build along major highway corridors. The West Coast Electric Highway will provide EV drivers with fast chargers every 50 miles or so, all the way from Oregon to Canada. This in turn is part of a larger project called the West Coast Green Highway, which will someday traverse three states to power the entire 1,350-mile length of Interstate 5.

Bellingham Mayor Dan Pike and state Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond were on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony at the Sehome Village Shopping Center.

“The city’s commitment to sustainability makes Bellingham a prime location to lead the charge to provide electric vehicle infrastructure,” said Mayor Pike. “We’re proud to pave the way for a new generation of zero-emission personal transportation.”

“The transition from gasoline and foreign oil to alternative fuels, such as electricity, for transportation requires a huge first step – infrastructure,” said Ms. Hammond. “Businesses like Sehome Village and its merchants, such as Starbucks and REI, are pioneering the way to energy independence by taking that first step, and they are strengthening Washington’s role in the West Coast Electric Highway. In a few years it will be possible for people to drive their electric vehicles from Canada to Mexico.”

AeroVironment Inc. is the manufacturer and operator of Washington’s charging stations, which will offer both Level 3 DC fast charging and Level 2 medium-speed charging. The stations will be located at retail locations such as shopping malls and gas stations with easy access to the highway, as well as at a couple of rest areas. Funding is coming from a mix of federal, state and local government programs.

 

Images: WSDOT