Washington State’s electric vehicle infrastructure efforts will be getting $1.32 million in Federal Recovery Act funding, according to an announcement by Gov. Christine Gregoire. The state’s transportation and commerce departments are working together to develop an “electric highway,” an initial network of public-access electric vehicle (EV) recharging locations along Interstate 5.
Once implemented, Washington expects to have the first border-to-border major highway to offer fast charge technology for electric vehicles. The infrastructure is intended to enable electric vehicle drivers to travel the length of the state along the 276 miles of I-5 between Washington’s borders with Oregon and Canada. As many as 300,000 electric vehicles are anticipated on Washington roads during in the next 10 years.
The state’s “electric highway” will connect Washington electric vehicle drivers with Portland, OR and other west coast communities participating in the Electric Vehicle Project, a $230 million program to deploy a total of 4,700 electric vehicles and nearly 15,000 charge stations in 5 states (OR, WA, CA, AZ and TN) and the District of Columbia. Washington State will partner with private companies to install fast charging infrastructure in critical charging zones. The first charging sites will be placed along I-5 north of Everett, WA and south of Centralia, WA. The work on I-5 will be complemented with deployments along I-90 to include Central Washington.
Funding is provided by the Dept. of Commerce with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars being administered through the State Energy Program. The project is reported to meet State Energy Program and Recovery Act funding goals to save energy, reduce dependence on foreign oil, and invest in transportation and other infrastructure that will provide long-term economic benefits.
“Washington State is a leader in creating green jobs, adopting new clean technologies and we are poised to do it again with electric vehicles,” said Gregoire. “Providing the nation’s first true electrified highway (I-5) will benefit Washingtonians and show the rest of the country how we can use innovative partnerships to solve some of our most difficult challenges like climate change and our dependence on oil.”
The project also supports the West Coast Green Highway initiative, a tri-state program to promote the use of cleaner fuels along the 1,350 miles of I-5 from British Columbia, Canada to Baja CA. According to the governor, Washington’s network of electric vehicle charging infrastructure could jump start the development of a regional electric vehicle network spreading across the entire length of I-5, connecting three states and three countries and serving the two million electric vehicles anticipated on the west coast.