Washington State´s Electric Highway Breaks Ground

west coast electric highway

On Wednesday, state officials in Washington broke ground on their portion of the West Coast Green Highway, which will eventually link the entire I-5 corridor with public-access electric vehicle recharging stations.

The site of the state´s first DC Fast-Charging station is Bellingham´s Sehome Village Shopping Center.  Most of the stations will be located at private retail centers like this one, as well as normal re-fueling stations and travel centers that provide easy access to the highway.

In Washington state, EV stations will be located every 40-60 miles and will be equipped with both Level 3 DC Fast-Charge and Level 2 ´medium-speed´electric vehicle chargers. The new DC Fast-Charging stations are capable of recharging a Nissan Leaf  or similar model in about 30-minutes, while the ´medium-speed´chargers will provide a slower 4-6 hour charge.

Last July, we reported that Washington State´s DOT had partnered with electric vehicle charging station manufacturer AeroEnvironment to provide, install, and operate the equipment for the charging stations. It´s not entirely clear yet how subscriptions will work or how much it will cost to use the stations – pricing will be established by the company.

Only the slower Level 2 rechargers have adopted a standard plug (J-1772), which means that vehicles like the Ford Focus, Nissan Leaf, and Chevy Volt will be able to use them. The ability to use the Level 3 DC Fast-Chargers will depend on the vehicle, since no standards have been adopted yet.

Washington´s network of chargers is slated to be operational by spring 2012, ultimately enabling EV owners to travel the length of the state between Canada and Oregon, 276 miles.

For more specific on Washington State´s EV Highway, see their FAQ.




In a past life, Clayton was a professional blogger and editor of Gas 2.0, Important Media’s blog covering the future of sustainable transportation. He was also the Managing Editor for GO Media, the predecessor to Important Media.