COTTAGE GROVE, Ore.
(KMTR) -- Electric vehicle drivers hitting the long lonely road have several new options to “fuel up” or grab a charge right off of Interstate Five in much of Southern Oregon
Eight new EV charging stations opened up on Friday, March 16th, 2012, in various towns along I-5 between Cottage Grove and Ashland.
Interstate 5 is the second busiest freeway in the United States.
In Cottage Grove, the charging station is right off exit 174, behind the Village Inn restaurant.
For the typical gasoline fueled driver, you might, “so what? What’s the big deal?”
The answer? The new charging stations are some of the first in the state and in the U.S. to have high powered electric charging nozzles.
The Cottage Grove station and the other 7 that opened Friday all house “level 2” and “level 3” chargers.
Level 1 chargers are able to plug in to any standard home 110-v outlet. That’s the same charger you plug your cell phone or most every electronic device. A level 1 charger is the slowest and can typically take an entire day to charge an EV from dead to full.
A step up, level 2 chargers are special 240-v chargers. Typically, the 240-v chargers are wired to their very own circuit, much like a washer or a dryer. A level 2 charger has little more power to it and can charge most electric cars from a dead battery to full in about 6 to 10 hours.
Finally, a level 3 charger is what you might call a behemoth of electricity.
Level 3 chargers use 480 volts of direct current, pumping up many electric cars from dead to 80 percent in about 30 minutes or less.
A private company, AeroVironment runs the 8 new charging station. Drivers who want to use the chargers at the stations need to sign up with the company first. According to ODOT, AeroVironment is temporarily offering free charging at the stations.
The new stations are in Cottage Grove, Rice Hill, Roseburg, Canyonville, Wolf Creek, Grants Pass, Central Point, and Ashland.
ODOT news release:
SALEM – Cruising the open road is now a little closer to reality for electric vehicle owners in the Pacific Northwest.
Today, the Oregon Department of Transportation, along with charging station partner AeroVironment (NASDAQ: AVAV) and the Oregon Department of Energy, opened the first phase of the West Coast Electric Highway, which will eventually stretch along Interstate 5 from the Canadian to Mexican borders. The eight charging station hubs introduced today, with each hub offering two charging outlets, will provide electric vehicle (EV) owners a network of electric “refueling” stations along a major transportation artery in southern Oregon. Two more stations, located along I-5 north of Cottage Grove, will complete this first phase and will be joining the network later this spring.
“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 and vice president of customer and community affairs for Pacific Power. “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.”
The new EV charging stations were paid for by $915,000 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding through the Oregon Department of Energy’s State Energy Program.
The West Coast Electric Highway will eventually allow EV drivers to travel from San Diego to Vancouver, B.C. without relying on carbon-based fuel. “Fast” charging stations, included at each of the newly operational locations, can provide a full charge for an EV in less than 30 minutes.
“Plug-in vehicles are increasing in popularity, with many new models coming to market in 2012,” said Art James, senior project executive with the Oregon Department of Transportation. “We wanted to develop state-of-the-art charging infrastructure to support them, and AeroVironment has helped us provide Oregon EV owners the ability to travel from community to community.”
Spaced at roughly 25 miles apart along the southern Oregon I-5, AeroVironment EV installed the charging stations at convenient locations in Cottage Grove, Rice Hill, Roseburg, Canyonville, Wolf Creek, Grants Pass, Central Point, and Ashland. Each location has two charging stations including one DC “fast” charger. Plans call for a total of more than 40 additional charging stations from AeroVironment to be operational in Oregon and Washington by the end of the year.
“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.”
Electric vehicle drivers will be able to activate access to the charging stations by signing up for the AV Charging Network at evsolutions.com/avnetwork or by calling toll-free at 888-833-2148. Once enrolled, EV drivers will receive an AV Network key fob that will allow access to all AeroVironment chargers along the West Coast Electric Highway. AeroVironment is also providing free charging for a limited time, giving EV drivers freedom and convenience on the open road.
“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. “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.”