Imagine travelling 585 miles without using a single drop of gasoline. With the West Coast Electric Highway, this dream has become reality! To advance electric transportation, Washington and Oregon have designed a border-to-border network of electric vehicle (EV) fast-charging stations along I-5. By summer 2012, a 100% electric vehicle can travel I-5, the major transportation vein through Oregon and Washington, using no gas at all.
With American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is installing 11 AeroVironment fast-chargers along 1-5, U.S. Route 2, and I-90 in 2012. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is using ARRA funds to install 10 AeroVironment fast-chargers along I-5 in 2012. These chargers will augment ECOtality's planned installation of 1000 level 2 and 28 fast-chargers in Washington; and 800 level 2 and 27 fast-chargers in Oregon through the national ARRA-funded “EV Project.”
You start your gas-free journey in Bellingham, Washington by charging your EV with the AeroVironment fast-charger at Sehome Village Shopping Center. After grabbing a cup of coffee and purchasing some outdoor equipment, you hop onto I-5 and head towards Leavenworth to refuel your EV while you enjoy a ride on horse-drawn carriage around the Bavarian Village. Now fully-charged and worry-free, you head down I-5 towards Oregon to continue your adventure, refueling as needed at the fast-chargers located every 40-60 miles.
Don’t own an EV? No problem! Rent an EV from an Enterprise location in Portland and enjoy an EV-induced adventure.
5 things to know before you go:
- At the end of 2012, the West Coast Electric Highway will host more than 100 publicly-accessible EV DC fast-charging stations on I-5, at key locations near major travel destinations, and along heavily-traveled highway corridors radiating out from I-5 every 40-60 miles.
- It will take between 20-30 minutes to refuel at a fast-charger. EV drivers on the West Coast Electric Highway could refuel their vehicle at a charging station in less time than it takes to stretch their legs and refuel their own system with a large cup of coffee.
- Sixty-five percent of present U.S. light-duty vehicles could be powered by existing off-peak generating capacity.
- Electric motors can convert up to 85% of the chemical energy in batteries to power the wheels while internal combustion engines only convert about 20% of the energy stored in gasoline to the wheels.
- In 2010, the average Oregon driver traveled an average of 28.4 miles per day, well within the current 100-mile range on a charge that the EVs out in the marketplace today can get.
For more on the project, check out the the West Coast Green Highway website!