First section of Oregon’s West Coast Electric Highway opens

The first section of the West Coast Electric Highway is now open in southern Oregon

Back in 2008, I wrote a story about how the state of Oregon had begun installing the first solar highway in the U.S. Now, once again, Oregon is leading the way in alternative energy transportation by opening the first section of its new West Coast Electric Highway.

With its opening ceremony last Friday, the state of Oregon’s new electric highway will allow electric vehicles will be able to charge up across southern Oregon at any of the eight charging stations, spaced out twenty five miles apart across the I-5 southern Oregon corridor – from Cottage Grove, Rice Hill, Roseburg, Canyonville, Wolf Creek, Grants Pass, Central Point to Ashland.

In partnership with AeroVironment, each location has two EV chargers – a DC charger that can power a battery to full charge in 30 minutes or less, and a Level 2 medium-speed charger, which will take from four to six hours for a full charge and cost less for travelers to use.

Long term plans anticipate more than 40 additional charging stations to be deployed in Oregon and Washington by AeroVironment by the end of this year.

The newly installed charging stations were paid for with $915,000 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding through the Oregon Department of Energy’s State Energy Program.

“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.”

The $4 million cost of the next phase of the electric highway will be covered with support from Oregon and Washington states and a federal fund administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

AeroVironment's DC Fast Charger will fully charge a battery in 30 minutes or less

When fully complete, the West Coast Electric Highway will allow EV drivers to travel from San Diego, California to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada without relying on fossil fuel.

“Oregon has firmly established itself as a leader in the clean transportation movement,” said Wahid Nawabi, AeroVironment senior vice president and general manager of its Efficient Energy Systems business segment.

To activate access to charging stations along the route, electric vehicle drivers only need to sign up for the AeroVironment Charging Network or by calling toll-free at 888 833-2148. Drivers will then receive an AeroVironment Network key fob that will allow access to all its chargers along the West Coast Electric Highway.

Signing up for AeroVironment's Charging Network will give EV drivers access to the electric highway's EV chargers

Currently, for a limited time, AeroVironment is offering charging for free to all EV drivers to test out and enjoy this unique driving experience.

As this “phenomenon” spreads across the West Coast, it will definitely make driving a lot less costly, especially with the continually rising cost of gas. Maybe buying an all-electric vehicle just got a bit less expensive.

2 Responses

  1. Any word on the price for a charge?

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