By G. David Felt
Be for or against EV autos one cannot help but acknowledge that they are here to stay. California has long been one to push the industry in one direction or another. With change often came some interesting observations such as Tesla who has been funded and helped by government grants and yet for being in a state that pushed auto companies to build EV autos they lack a solid growing infrastructure for the Electric Highway in comparison to other states.
Electric Highway Map Washington & Oregon
Electric Highway Map California
While Tesla has done wonders for pushing their own charging stations, what about support for non-Tesla EVs? This is where a quick study of the Electric Highway Map shows that Oregon and Washington State has surpassed California for making much of the state and the major highway usable for electric road trips. The map shows an easy to understand network of charge points for going on an EV road trip.
I-5 is essentially the backbone of the EV highway on the west coast with the map showing the various supported state and federal highways with charging locations and type. California, while focused on San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego loves to show off that they have an electric system, much of it is still in a planned stage leaving really only Tesla with a solution of getting around long distance.
The focus of the West Coast Green Highway project which is funded by Federal, state, city and business dollars is to give “Range Confidence” to those that choose to purchase an EV auto. This project is an extension of the Federal’s current and long-running EV Project which was funded in August 2009 and covers 9 states with chargers installed in Major cities and Metropolitan areas. The Chevrolet Volt and Nissan LEAF are partners in this long running project. Owners of these autos could apply and those that qualify could get a free residential charger at no cost. As of March 11 2013, the EV Project had met it currently funded goal for residential charging units and is no longer accepting applications. EV Drivers can still sign up and join in the monitoring project of the public charging units to help better understand the use, need, and type of chargers.
The layout of charging stations show that most are 20 to 30 miles apart with some being 50 to 60 miles apart which would require one to carefully and efficiently plan their driving. The one item that this map does not show is topography. The Pacific Northwest is a mountainous area that is also home to strong winds of which both can and do affect range of these autos.
Fortunately many will find that the West Coast Green Highway site covers all of North America with alternative Fueling station locators. The Electric Highway is a part of a broader effort by the Department of Transportation for Washington, Oregon, and California to expand the use of Natural Gas, Biodiesel, Ethanol, and Hydrogen options along the 1,350 miles of I-5 from the US border with Canada to the US border with Mexico.
In a drive for those that wish to help reduce greenhouse gas, clean up the air we breathe and give mother earth a break, the West Coast Green Highway project is a solid step in the right direction supporting many alternative transportation fueling options.