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Ground breaks on Washington West Coast Electric Highway
29 December 2011
Officials from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT); Bellingham, Wash. Mayor Dan Pike; and local businesses including Starbucks and REI, celebrated the ground breaking of the state’s first DC fast charger and its segment of the West Coast Electric Highway. (Earlier post.) The state’s first public DC fast-charging station is located in the Bellingham’s Sehome Village Shopping Center.
WSDOT selected Bellingham as the premiere location in a network of public electric vehicle chargers along the West Coast Electric Highway. When complete, the network will enable electric vehicle drivers to travel 276 miles of I-5 between Washington’s borders with Oregon and Canada.
The transition from gasoline and foreign oil to alternative fuels, such as electricity, for transportation requires a huge first step—infrastructure.—state Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond
The Electric Highway is part of the West Coast Green Highway, a three-state initiative to promote the use of cleaner fuels along the 1,350 miles of I-5 from British Columbia to Baja, California in Mexico.
WSDOT, together with charging station manufacturer and operator AeroVironment, developed the first public DC Fast-charging station in the state. The technology provides a 30-minute recharge for all-electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV. The charging station will include a Level 2 “medium-speed” charging pedestal to serve other electric vehicles such as the Ford Focus and Chevy Volt.
With federal Recovery Act funding through the Washington State Department of Commerce State Energy Program and local funding, the state is developing public/private ventures that support the nation’s first cross-state infrastructure for electric vehicles, paving the way for a cleaner, more sustainable way of travel.
Earlier this year, WSDOT selected AeroVironment Inc. as its business partner to provide the DC fast-charging equipment and services at retail locations such as shopping malls, fueling stations and restaurants with easy access to the state’s highways. AeroVironment is installing six stations along I-5, three stations along U.S. Highway 2 and potentially two stations along Interstate 90. The State of Oregon also chose AeroVironment to extend the West Coast Green Highway charging network to the Oregon/California border.
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