Oregon’s I-5 Now Electrified

Another step to answer electric vehicle range anxiety has been taken.

As of Friday morning, the Oregon Department of Transportation has opened the first phase of the West Coast Electric Highway, which is anticipated to eventually stretch along Interstate 5 from the Canadian to Mexican borders. This opening was made in partnership with charging station partner AeroVironment and the Oregon Department of Energy.

At this stage, the first eight links are operating in what will ultimately be a north-south chain of electric vehicle charging stations along I-5. The West Coast Electric Highway will eventually allow EV drivers to travel from San Diego to Vancouver, B.C. on electric power alone. “Fast” charging stations, included at each of the newly operational locations, can provide a full charge for an EV in less than 30 minutes. These stations will eventually dot interchanges up and down I-5.

Spaced at roughly 25-mile intervals along the southern Oregon I-5, the AeroVironment charging stations are now available at 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 more than 40 additional charging stations to be operational in Oregon and Washington by the end of the year.

Electric vehicle drivers will be able to activate access to the charging stations by signing up for AV’s Charging Network through this link 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 currently providing free charging for a limited time.

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.


  • CharlesF

    I support EVs, and may own one in a year or two, but this is just a stupid idea. Who in their right mind would drive an EV along I-5 for any distance? At 80% charge you have less than one hour of freeway driving in a Leaf before having to recharge for half an hour. EVs are a great idea for a lot of driving, but not long distances. This just gives the GOP another arrow in their quiver for going after EVs and other fuel efficient cars that need some government help to get started. The money would have been better spent on a lot of other ways to improve the environment and create jobs.

  • ecodelta

    Volt!

  • James Davis

    Would you also have said that when the ICE car came out and they were building gas stations everywhere up and down I-5 and the rest of America, if I-5 was even there at that time? You sound like Americans give a rats-ass what those oil sucking, gas guzzling, and anti-environment republicans think; they are going the way the ICE engine is going. The republicans are tearing themselves apart and leaving a very nasty taste in American’s mouths.

    Electric cars are the future, and the battery that powers electric cars are not going to stand still for a hundred years like the ICE engine did. By 2050, we may have a battery (nuclear) that you will never have to charge or change and that you can pass down to your great great great grandchildren. If we allow Israel come on the scene, we may even have a flying car ran off the nuclear batteries. They are already developing the quad copter car that can seat six people. The future will be good as long as you keep pushing those anti-everything republicans out of our way and keep forging forward.

  • Van

    A three phase 480 Volt fed charge can deliver about 60 KW, so to recharge a Leaf, would take less than 30 minutes. However, after driving about 60 miles, using about 17 KWH of power, the Leaf would need another fast charge. Stopping every hour or so for 20 minutes or so would not be very attractive to many people.

    The reality is we need EV’s with at least twice the capacity, i.e 42 or more KWh, and chargers able to recharge at 10 times the rate, i.e 40 KWh recharge in about 4 minutes. Instead of 480 Volt chargers, we will need 4KV fed chargers and batteries that can be recharged at that rate. Such a system does not seem to be on anyone’s horizon.

    A more likely future is a plug-in hybrid future with a diesel range extender fueled by biofuel. This seems to be, at least initially, the way forward.

  • AP

    James Davis, I’d say CharlesF’s comments made a lot of sense.

    While electric cars make sense for short distances, we will probably never make them practical for long-distance use. The weight of batteries necessary for the amount of energy used on a long trip is too great, and the charging time goes up with battery capacity.

    Currently, a Chevy Volt goes about 1/10th of a mile per pound of battery, while a gasoline car getting 40 mpg goes about 6 miles per pound of gasoline. The difference is huge. Batteries will improve, but the fact is that hydrocarbon fuels from oil pack a lot of inergy into a very small space, with little weight.

    And when gas stations were first put in, they weren’t paid for by the government. Entrepreneurs decided they could make money by building a gas station and selling gas at a profit.

  • Emmett Smith

    My next car will be electric and get about 200 miles between charges while doing over 70 MPH.

  • chargingstation safety

    In any of the articles I have read, there is no mention of safety. I have done some research and the general Public needs to be asking these questions….
    1) If a car were to strike one of these 480v charging stations, has the local fire departments been trained to handle this scenerio?
    2) incase of an emergency and these stations are on the side of the road, what is the response time between each charging station before a fire truck can help?
    3)what if a station has been struck and it does not show damager and someone goes to charge a car and gets electrocuted, who will monitor these stations?
    4)Once drug addicts and vandals find out these charging stations nozzle are not charged with electrocity, these things will be cut and stolen.oops did i let the cat out of the bag?
    5) whos training our emergency responders on charging station dangers? I heard of a company out east training fire departments and i called my local FD and asked if they have been trained on charging stations and the chief laughed.
    Its all fun and games until someone gets hurt or killed…..demand emergency responder training for your fire fighters !!! before its too late…location of charging stations are the last thing I want to be worried about.

  • greg45

    I just love what they offer on this highway. I definitely see this on more highways in the future. The options are endless with this. Keep up the good work. http://www.embeddedsensors.ca