Washington State to Build First 'Electric Highway'

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This sign (above) is the Washington State Department of Transportation’s proposal for pointing electric-vehicle drivers to public charging stations along Interstate 5, which Gov. Chris Gregoire wants to turn into the nation’s first “electric highway.”

Using a $1.32 million federal grant, the state will create a network of seven to 10 Level 3 fast-charging stations running the length of the major highway that stretches from the Oregon to Canadian border. Level 3 stations can usually recharge a vehicle’s battery in 15 to 30 minutes.

The idea is to position the charging stations just off the highway in shopping centers. Businesses will be happy because they’ll draw customers who might buy coffee or a sandwich while waiting for the battery to charge.

The stations will be spaced no more than 80 miles apart, which would be suitable for a Nissan Leaf owner who can get about 100 miles per charge. The state is looking at several contractors for the project and is still unsure how much customers will be charged for electricity.

Seattle is also taking part in the EV Project, a federal study that aims to look at how EV drivers use their vehicles and interact with the grid.

I-5 to Become the Nation’s First Electric Highway? (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

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