Hillsboro, Oregon Going, Going, Gone Electric

“Our city is progressive and aggressive in implementing sustainable solutions to environmental and economic challenges.”

–David Robinson, director of Facilities and Fleet, City of Hillsboro, Oregon

Hillsboro, Oregon, the 5th largest city in the state and known as “Silicon Forest” is joining the growing electric community with the announcement that it will be the first in the state to install public ChargePoint Networked Charging Stations for both plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles. The city will install 16 charging stations downtown, one as part of its “green” intermodal transit facility due to be constructed this year.

It’s not surprising that this announcement comes from the environmentally progressive Northwest. Robinson noted that the community has a, “large forward-thinking population ready to embrace electric vehicle technology,” and that the City is committed to providing the facilities that its community needs.

The technology is manufactured by Coulomb Technologies, Inc. who currently have ChargePoint Networked Charging Stations in San Francisco and Walnut Creek, California, Wisconsin and Amsterdam. The charging stations can be used for municipalities, utilities, green office buildings, and parking garages, all ideal locations for consumers with cars that can re-charged.

So how does it work? A consumer with a plug-in hybrid or all-electric car subscribes to the ChargePoint Network and receives a ChargePoint Smart Card that allows him to charge his car at any charging station around the world. This is the same concept as a person who has a Shell gasoline credit card. She can use the credit card at any station throughout the world to fill up.

Also, to continue the analogy to a traditional gas station which provides the driver other benefits besides gas such as car washes, food, beverages, and lottery tickets, and provides the owner with revenue (more on food and beverages than gas) the ChargePoint Network charging stations also provide benefits to both the owner (such as the city of Hillsboro) as well as to the consumer.

Owner benefits include:

  • Revenue stream to pay for electricity, capital equipment and maintenance.
  • Authenticated access to eliminate energy theft.
  • Authorized energizing for safety.
  • Remote monitoring and diagnostics.
  • Smart Grid integration for utility load management with future V2G capabilities.

Consumer benefits include:

  • Ability to charge at any ChargePoint charging station around the world.
  • Ability to locate ChargePoint charging stations at www.mychargepoint.net.
  • The ability for drivers to find unoccupied charging stations via web-enabled cell phones.
  • Notification by SMS text or email when charging is complete.

It looks like the country is on the move to installing much needed electric infrastructure to charge the growing number of plug-in electric cars on the road. Now I just need to find someone to give me an electric car so that I can utilize these growing resources….

Joanna Schroeder

Joanna is a writer and consultant specializing in renewable energy and sustainable agriculture issues.