Saturday, November 19, 2011

Oregon Gets Plugged In

Electric Vehicle Charging Station in Portland Oregon
Portland is a nice testing ground for plug-in cars. The per capita hybrid ownership here is higher here than anywhere else in the US. The urban growth boundary provides a high density that allows trips to and from the surrounding suburbs and back well within the range of EVs such as the Nissan Leaf or Mitsubishi i or the soon to be here Ford Focus Electric and Honda Fit EV.

In 2010, to reduce emissions from transportation, the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 1059. Given the ample hydroelectric power and growing wind and solar in this region, the best way to reduce transportation emissions is to power transportation with electricity.

To facilitate this, Oregon invested in transportation electrification and applied for and received federal grant. Charging stations are being installed in Oregon by the following projects:
  • The EV Project - This is a $230 million dollar public/private partnership project is deploying 14,000 chargers in six states and the District of Columbia. This program is installing both public and residential charging stations. In Oregon The EV Project will deploy about 900 home stations to new EV owners, 1,150 publicly available Level 2 charging stations, and 45 DC Quick Chargers.
  • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) - This federal stimulus grant paid for the peculiar combination of high efficiency woodstoves, irrigation, & EV charging stations.  $700,000 will be spent installing 8 DC quick chargers in the southern part of the state by the end of the year.
  • Tiger II - The bulk of this $27 million grant will be spent improving light-rail and freight rail, however, $2 million will be spent to install 42 DC quick chargers along the I-5 corridor.
  • Electric Avenue is a street in Portland that has 8 charging stations. Plug-in vehicle manufacturers can bring their vehicles here to test compatibility. This installation was paid for by Portland State University, Portland General Electric, and the City of Portland.
DC Quick Charger in Central Point Oregon
Other Oregon investments in EVs include Drive Oregon. It is the state's EV small business incubator. Drive Oregon members are made up of EV manufacturers, component designers and developers, and EV charging station manufacturers. The group is funded by $1.2 million from the Oregon Legislature.

Additionally, local governments such as the city of Hillsboro are installing charging stations at transit centers and parking garages. Within her city limits, Hillsboro currently has more EV charging stations than gas stations.

So if you are looking for a launch market to test your EV in, consider Oregon. You can collect data here about usage and charging patterns that you could not get anywhere else.

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