2011-07-13

Co.Exist

Within Six Months, I-5 Will Be The Electric Interstate

A new contract will bringing fast-charging access points to Northwest highways, enabling a wave of electric cars to make long-range journeys, with just quick stops for charging along the way.

Live near I-5, and have a Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt? Your luck is in: Within six months all 276 miles of the interstate between Canada and Oregon will be peppered with electric charging points for your car of the future, in a project that'll turn it into the electric interstate of the 21st Century. A small section of U.S. 2 in Washington State will also get the same treatment.

AeroVironment is the firm picked to do the wiring-up of I-5 and U.S. 2, which is going to cost only $1 million. For that price, the firm—which recently was the won Underwriter's Labs certification for its fast-chargers—will "manufacture, supply, install and operate a network of nine fast-charging stations." That translates to about one station every 40-to-60 miles (comfortably within the Nissan Leaf's 70 mile maximum "highway" range) along the interstate, and on U.S. 2 "between Everett and Leavenworth." They'll be placed at locations like shopping malls, gas stations, and rest stops.

You'll simply roll up and pay to use the fast-charge stations to get your EV up from zero to full in "less than 30 minutes," and if you've got more time and fancy spending less cash there's also a Level 2 "medium speed" station at each charge point, which takes four to six hours. Fast charge points will be operational by November 30.

AeroVironment is also one of the "leading hydroelectric power producers in the United States" according to a spokesman quoted in the press release, meaning that some of the juice you'll be pumping into your car will be from a more sustainable source.

We can also understand the significance of electrifying the interstate in the Pacific Northwest: With its cluster of super-high-tech global firms, it could definitely serve as something of a national example. Hopefully, more highways will be coming soon.

[Image: Flickr user beverlyislike]

Chat about this news with Kit Eaton on Twitter and Fast Company too.

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1 Comments

  • Marc

    2 suggestions for this column.  First, get a proofreader, and 2nd, put a date on the postings so your readers will know when they were written.