Oregon’s ‘Electric Highway’ sets the pace for electric vehicle accommodation

Written By: Thatcher Michelsen March 20, 2012 0
Interstate 5 in Oregon will be more eco-friendly now that it has eight electric vehicle charging stations.
Interstate 5 in Oregon will be more eco-friendly now that it has eight electric vehicle charging stations.

One of the primary issues surrounding electric cars is their inability to travel extended distances without recharging or using gasoline. Until more consumers buy electric vehicles, the availability of charging stations along main roads and highways will be limited. But, America may be finally reaching the point where demand for battery-powered cars drives increased production of corresponding accommodations.

A strong indication of this trend is highlighted by Oregon's efforts to make Interstate-5 more electric vehicle compliant. As the first major part of the West Coast "Electric Highway," a 160-mile stretch of road from the northern California border to Cottage Grove, Oregon now has eight electric car charging stations that can bring a vehicle's battery to a full charge in less than 30 minutes.

"As the first state in the nation to establish an [electric vehicle] charging infrastructure along a major interstate, Oregon is leading the [electric vehicle] pathway and supporting adoption of the next phase in the evolution of transportation," chair of the Oregon Transportation Commission and vice president of customer and community affairs for Pacific Power, Pat Egan, said in a statement.

"Once Oregon's segment of the West Coast Electric Highway is completed, [electric vehicle] 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."

The Nissan Leaf, one of the more popular electric car models on the market, can travel about 70 highway miles before needing a charge, according to The Associated Press. If a Leaf is traveling down the Electric Highway, it will only require a recharge at every other station.

Art James, senior project executive with the Oregon Department of Transportation, said in a press release that electric cars are becoming more and more popular, and there will be a number of new vehicles that run on renewable energy hitting the roads this year.

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