The electric highway project
Oregon’s Electric Vehicle Charging Network is extending electric car charging stations along the I-5 corridor. It costs only $2-$3 to charge up an all electric car. Electric vehicles keep oil money in the country and may develop a new industry based on innovation – or so the thinking goes.
The Oregon Department of Transportation opened eight quick-charge stations in July 2012, between Medford and Cottage Grove to support long-distance electric car trips. A full charge takes about 20 minutes. By the end of 2012, you’ll be able to plug in at stops along 1-5 from the California state line to the Canadian border, an effort dubbed The West Coast Electric Highway.
ECOtality installed four Blink Wall Mount charging stations at Lloyd Center in the northwest corner of the mall and a fast charge station at the Hollywood Fred Meyer store off NE Broadway which can charge a Nissan LEAF to 80 percent capacity in under 30 minutes (with the proper connector).
Eaton Corporation and Mitsubishi will make charging stations at its 85-person plant in Wilsonville. So far, the market has been led by startups such as Coloumb Technologies and ECOtality, the San Francisco-based company leading the federally fund EV Project.
Chargeportland.com provides information about electric car charging stations and how to apply for an online permit for your electric vehicle.
ECOtality’s Fast chargers are available in Portland and Eugene, south to the California border creating a system of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations along the entire length of Interstate 5 in Oregon. ECOtality will oversee the installation of nearly 15,000 Blink charging stations in 18 cities and major metropolitan areas in six states and DC.
Unfortunately, Ecotality has declared bankruptcy and Blink Acquisition, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Car Charging Group emerged as the winner of an auction for the rights to its assets. CarCharging says they are committed to creating a robust network for EV charging and is technology agnostic.
Other local companies such as Shorepower Technologies (left) and Beaverton-based OpConnect are also trying to carve out space in the market. BP plans to install up to 1,000 chargers at BP and Arco gas stations along the Interstate 5 corridor.
AeroVironment has been selected by ODoT to install its high-power Level 3 fast charging stations along the I-5 corridor. The stations will be placed at convenient locations along a 150-mile span of the I-5 and allow drivers to recharge a fully-discharged car in less than 30 minutes. In addition to 480-volt fast charging stations, AeroVironment also provides J-1772 compliant 240-volt Level 2 charging stations. Level 2 chargers, using 220, take about 4 hours to charge a car that’s 80% discharged, while Level 1 chargers, using standard 110 volt AC, take about 8 hours.
The West Coast Electric Highway project (right), aims to provide enough charge stations to enable longer range traveling. Oregon’s portion of the West Coast Electric Highway is done.
It’s now possible to drive an all-electric vehicle from the Washington border to the California border using Quick Charge stations installed by PGE, which allow motorists to recharge at strategic locations in 30 minutes or less. Today’s electric cars typically have a range of 75-100 miles after being topped off. Two to three times that range would make electric cars more practical.
Here’s the 2011 Electrathon at PIR where students compete with their school-built cars.
EV4Oregon.com combines Solarworld panels, with Enphase microinverters, battery storage and 220 volt utility feeds to create Electric Vehicle carports that offers Level 1 (30 minute charging) without the expense of a 440 volt line drop. The system claims a 20-minute electric vehicle charging capability by combining battery and 220 volt line power.
The City of Hillsboro is the first in the State of Oregon to install Coulomb Technologies Level II ChargePoint Networked Charging Stations for plug-in and electric vehicles. Thirteen Level II charging stations are now installed in downtown Hillsboro at their new green intermodal transit facility. Portland-based Shorepower Technologies is currently deploying Electrified Parking Spaces (EPS) across North America. OpConnect, an Oregon company with offices in Beaverton, has developed a network of suppliers and partners for an Electric Vehicle Charging System.
The U.S. DOT awarded Oregon a $2 million TIGER II grant for a fast electric vehicle charging across the entire 1,350 miles of I-5, serving the 2 million electric vehicles anticipated on the west coast.
PGE installed the first publicly available fast charger in the United States in the summer of 2010 in its parking garage in downtown Portland. NEC’s Takasago Rapid Charging Station complies with the CHAdeMO EV charging standard, and comes in 50kW and 20kW capacities for 15-30 minute charging. A 20 minute quick charger might utilize a 45-kilowatt photovoltaic carport.
As oil prices increase, charging car batteries by sustainable wind and solar power will become increasingly compelling, say renewable energy supporters. Skeptics say the cost of electric cars and their battery range must improve dramatically to be competitive with gasoline in the next decade or two. The state of North Dakota estimates there are 2.1 billion barrels of recoverable oil using rock fracturing technologythat became available starting in 2008. Eastern Montana is said to have the highest-producing onshore field found in the lower 48 states in the past 56 years from the Bakken formation, underlying parts of Montana, North Dakota, and Saskatchewan.
Canada’s Alberta oil sands hold up to two trillion barrels of oil spread over more than 54,000 square miles, making it the second largest oil deposit in the world after Saudi Arabia. The amount of energy spent recovering that oil and the pollution created in refining it is immense. The Athabasca deposit is the only large oil sands reservoir in the world suitable for large-scale surface mining, although most of it can only be produced using more recently developed in-situ technology. The Keystone Pipeline would transport synthetic crude from the Athabasca Oil Sands in northeastern Alberta to multiple destinations in the United States.
ExxonMobil’s recently released Outlook for Energy predicts that by 2040, about 90 percent of the global transportation fleet will still be powered by liquid petroleum fuels – that is, gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. There’s a lot of energy in a gallon of gasoline. And energy density is one of the key factors of any fuel.