Within six months, drivers will be able to recharge their electric vehicles, such as the Nissan LEAF and Chevrolet Volt, along Interstate 5 and US 2.
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) recently selected California-based AeroVironment to manufacture, install and operate nine fast-charging stations for electric vehicles. AeroVironment rose to the top during a competitive contract award process in which six companies submitted proposals to electrify I-5 and US 2 on a budget of $1 million.
Stations will be located every 40 to 60 miles along stretches of I-5 between the Canadian border and Everett and between Olympia and the Oregon border, as well as along US 2 between Everett and Leavenworth. The company is currently looking for potential locations in Bellingham and Burlington.
“A network of charging stations linking Washington to Oregon and Canada will make electric vehicles more attractive to consumers and businesses, and transportation better for the environment,” Paula Hammond, Washington secretary of transportation, said in a press release.
The fast-charging stations will be operational by Nov. 30, and will be capable of fully charging an electric vehicle in less than 30 minutes. Each station also will include a Level 2 “medium-speed” charging station, which will cost less for users and take four to six hours for a full charge. The stations will be located at private retail locations such as shopping malls, fueling stations and travel centers with easy access to the highway.
In the area between Everett and Olympia, additional charging stations will be installed through a federal program, The EV Project, administrated by the U.S. Department of Energy. Combined, the two projects will connect Washington drivers along the entire 276 miles of I-5 between Canada and Oregon.
“As the leading hydroelectric power producer in the United States, Washington state is ideally suited to support emissions-free electric vehicles,” Mike Bissonette, AeroVironment’s senior vice president, said in a press release. “Electrifying I-5 is not just a vision about a cleaner future, it’s about American jobs and building the economy today. We’re working with Washington to turn that vision into reality.”
While AeroVironment is working on this project in Washington, the company will simultaneously electrify I-5 in Oregon through a similar project managed by the Oregon Department of Transportation. Both are part of the West Coast Green Highway project. When complete, it will extend a seamless network of recharging stations along all 1,350 miles of I-5 from Canada to Mexico, serving more than 2 million electric vehicles that market analysts say will be sold in Washington, Oregon and California in the next decade.