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The state of Washington is hoping to turn the interstate 5 corridor that runs from Canadian border to Oregon into the nation's first electric highway. With the help of a $1.32 million federal grant, Washington hopes to install between seven and 10 so-called Level 3 electric vehicle charging stations along the main north-south road. Level 3 stations charge at 400 volts and 30 amps or more. Such stations can charge a typical EV battery to 80 percent full in under 30 minutes.
The state plans to take bids from charging station manufacturers this summer and select a contractor to do the installations in the fall. The state may want to reconsider the maximum 80-mile span between charging stations, though. Mainstream EVs like the Nissan Leaf and next year's Ford Focus Electric will only have a nominal range of 100 miles. At night, in the cold or in other non-ideal conditions the range will be considerably less. Level 3 stations will generally also not fully charge a battery. This is done to prevent over-charging and damaging the battery. That means the available range will be reduced further, so the charge stations should really be no more than 50 miles apart.

[Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer]


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  • 32 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Boo for bad transcribing! If you click on the source article, you will note that "The Seattle area is getting 2,500 charging stations as part of the $230 million EV Project. More than half of them will be public.". It goes on to say that "WSDOT's goal with the electric highway is to plug in under-served areas and connect Seattle with Portland, which also is participating in the project. "

      So, in other words, these 7 to 10 extra public stations are to fill in the potential gaps where there might not be AS MANY potential charging stations. In no way does this mean there will be only 10 public charging stations between Portland and Vancouver BC.

      Even if the plan was to ONLY install a grand total of 7-10 chargers between Portland and Vancouver BC it also states that there will be" enough charging stations so electric vehicles can make the entire 276-mile trip from the Canadian border to the Oregon state line, Gov. Chris Gregoire announced Monday." So basic math tells us that 276 Miles divided by 10 chargers would be 1 charger about every 27.6 miles if they equally space them, or 276 miles divided by 7 chargers = about 1 charger every 40 miles or so using the lower number of instalations.

      This article is a TOTAL FAIL
        • 4 Years Ago
        Actually... the article was talking about ...

        "The Seattle area is getting 2,500 charging stations as part of the $230 million EV Project. More than half of them will be public."

        Which are only Level 2 chargers.

        The 7 - 10 Level 3 chargers will be placed hopefully at an average of 40 - 50 miles apart. The "maximum" is 80 miles... but most likely, that is an overestimation.

        Unless, they decide 2 or more Level 3 chargers will be placed together... and nearer to the cities. In that case, it they will not be "evenly spaced".

        I think they should trade 100 public Level 2 chargers ($6K) for 30 extra Level 3 chargers.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Also note that Portland, OR is one of the EV project cities, so it is pretty safe to assume that at least one Level 3 charger will be installed there. For those unfamiliar with the NW, you enter Portland upon crossing the WA/OR state line, so WA could easily skip installing a L3 charger within 25-30 miles from its southern border.

        Now... how about connecting Seattle with Spokane, Governor? Although your vote totals might not reflect the fact, Washington actually does have an eastern side as well? 8*P
        • 4 Years Ago
        Dammit... math. You strike again!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Posterboy-

        While it will be great to connect all points, it is best to start with the large, relatively closely -spaced EV launch markets, which will have the highest density of these vehicles...

        There is also a big climate difference for western Washington.
        Average August High: Seattle 76, Spokane, 83
        Average January Low: Seattle 36, Spokane 21
        Record Low: Seattle 0, Spokane -30

        If you wanted to connect to Spokane, you would have to space them closer together to take into account for temperature extremes... while connecting fewer people. Washington should do it- but should get the rest up and running first.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Actually Portland to Vacouver is only ~300 miles. So, on average, the 7-10 stations would only be 30-43 miles apart.

        For infrastructure spending of less than the cost of one overpass, this is a fantastic way to connect urban areas of high projected rates of EV adoption. It should be expanded- with the length of I-5 then I-95, then build from there. Urban/Home Level II charging infrastructure takes care of daily driving, while Level III chargers enable the occaisonal long trip. Maybe add 110v plugs on every streetlamp to make it even more convenient.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I agree that 80 miles between stations is a little long. The leaf under "ideal conditions" can get 100 miles. In the winter at night and or raining, I would be surprised if the Leaf got 80-90 miles. However by the time this is up and running EVs should (hopefully) be above the 120 mile range.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Seattle doesn't really get that cold during the winter. If you pre-heat the car on-grid, climate would not make much difference. Also, as the speed limit is 60 mph (less surrounding urban areas) I would anticipate 100 miles per charge is easily attainable for almost all highway driving. If you really tried, I'm sure you could go beyond 100 miles per charge. Around Seattle, 80 miles per charge is being pretty conservative.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Lets see How can we waste some more taxpayer money?

      How about putting in high speed rechargers on the interstate where the handful of EV owners never drive? Wonderful. Having spent all our budgeted Money, we can ask for 110% next year...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Lets see How can we waste some more taxpayer money?

        Well, the U.S. could spend taxpayer money on DARPA to create a vast network of those new fangled thinking machines called compooters. We can call it the Internet.

        You know.... that thing you are using to spread your right-wing rhetoric.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You tell em Stan!
        We sure don't want to spend a few million dollars when we can spend BILLIONS or TRILLIONS of dollars keeping oil flowing and subsidizing oil and screwing our economy.

        Hell NO, we shouldn't spend that million dollars. All you damn commie liberal tree huggers out there should listen to Stan and stop spending that million dollars on EV charging stations!!! Why would you do that when you can kill our kids over in Iraq and Afghanistan? What are you a bunch of tree huggers?

        You tell em Stan!!!!!!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Don't be so hard on Stan. He just listened to too much Glen Beck and his brain turned to crude oil. We will be seeing him soon in the next round of BP commericals.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Nissan dealer in Wilsonville OR said they would be installing a L3 charging station. They will also be buying a fork lift to take the Leaf's battery pack out if need be. That is what they said when the OEVA visited them a few months ago.
      • 4 Years Ago
      - "Level 3 stations will generally also not fully charge a battery."

      I thought they do fully charge the battery. 48 KW only up to 80% SOC... but then at a much lower power for the rest.

      So 30 minutes to 80%, then another 20 minutes to top off.

      Am I wrong?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Shane.

        EV fast charging stations located on interstates will most likely come with 2 chargers in 1 unit. Or at least be purchased 2 or more at a time for one location.

        Also, EVs such as the Leaf will have instantaneously updated telemetrics that tell the driver if a charger is Available.

        Until EVs are widespread, I don't think many charging stations will be full. And when it DOES become a problem, that means more chargers will be purchased.

        When EVs traveling across the state becomes so popular that people are waiting in lines at the chargers... That will be a happy day for EVs. It means victory has finally been achieved.
        • 4 Years Ago
        When they say a charging station, does that mean there are multiple kiosks like in a gas station? If you pull in to charge and there's one guy in front of you, you gotta wait an extra 30 minutes. That could be really really frustrating...
        • 4 Years Ago
        For the LEAF, it is more like 20 minutes to 80%, 10 for the last 20% (if the charger is designed to handle it). But yes, the quick chargers are designed to fully charge the battery. As is typical with ABG, this article adds a lot of conjecture that wasn't in the source material.

        Also, of note- this region has a relatively mild climate and relatively low speed limits. 100 miles per charge should be easily doable. If charging at the origin and destination, you would need to recharge 2 times during your trip from Portland to Vancouver- adding a couple of half hour stops to over 5 hours of driving (due to reduced speed limits near citie ) ... I tend to stop about than often anyway (people with kids often end up stopping more frequently).

        Also, since most of the region's electricity comes from hydro, there are virtually no CO2 emissions. With programs like this, I can see EV's taking off in the Pacific Northwest... Infrastructure investment may have a hard time keeping up with EV adoption.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is apart from adding a lot of chargers under the EV Project.

      Anyone who wants real information take a look at this.

      http://psrc.org/transportation/ev

      Esp, all the past meeting summaries of the EV Project meetings, including hours of recording.

      http://psrc.org/about/advisory/ev-comm/meeting-summaries/
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think the I-5 plan is a very good idea. Basically, you connect all the major cities in the Northwest making pure EV transportation reality throughout most of the region. Connecting everywhere would be great, but this connects most of the urban population centers (where people are likely to buy electric cars) and is the most efficient way to get things moving.

      And, while it is more than you can count on your fingers and toes, in terms of infrastructure spending, it is a drop in the bucket. $1.3 million is less than the cost of one highway overpass. They should expand the quick charging network all the way down I-5 to San Diego for a few million more.

      And they should should start along I-95 between DC and Boston for most of the urban centers on the east coast. Then start from Miami and connect the length of I-95 for a few million more.

      Once the East and West coast population centers are connected, start connecting up the other interstates, where large population centers likely to buy electric cars are more spread out. If we eliminated oil subsidies and ethanol subsidies, we could connect the entire interstate highway system in one year with quick-charge stations and have money left over.
      garylai
      • 4 Years Ago
      I live in the Seattle area, and I think the charge locations discussed in this article are too far apart to be of much use. For people who live in Seattle and are driving down towards Portland, they would have to go more than 100 miles before reaching the Level 3 charge zone displayed on the map in the Seattle PI article. Better to put a Level III charger in the Olympia area rather than south of Centralia. It is 180 miles from Seattle to Portland, so at minimum you need two level III chargers between Seattle and Portland at 60 miles and 120 miles given the realistic driving range of the Nissan Leaf at highway speeds to make the trip with confidence.

      Also, the I-90 corridor should be in the initial launch zone.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @garylai
        Just to clarify, in Japan only a small proportion of the Nissan dealerships will get level III chargers, around 250 from memory out of a couple of thousand.
        The relatively small size of Japan means that that will still put a Level III charger within 40 miles of most Japanese.
        garylai
        • 4 Years Ago
        @garylai
        No, I think they are installing Level 2 chargers are Nissan dealers, not Level 3 fast chargers. These will take 4-8 hours to charge, not 30 minutes.

        http://nissan-leaf.net/2010/06/17/nissan-to-install-up-to-four-level-2-fast-chargers-at-each-dealer/
        • 4 Years Ago
        @garylai
        You should also take into account that the Nissan dealerships will also be installing the fast chargers in the Seattle area. So you effectively halve the distance between the charge stations.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @garylai
        The I5 corridor between WA and OR is 70 mph most of the way, semi's are relegated to 60 mph. At 70 mph compared to 55-60 mph, much more energy is consumed. I expect the Leafs range to go down to 70 miles at 70 mph maybe more.

        My car may only go 90 miles at 70mph, alas I do not have fast charging capabilities. Sigh, my EV has become antiquated already.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @garylai
        I think you read the map wrong.

        Both the Blue and the Orange lines are Level III fast chargers spaced at a maximum 80 miles apart. There shouldn't be any stretches of road that is not covered by the time stage 2 is completed.

        I too believe 80 miles is cutting it very close. But I think that is just a maximum that they will end up shortening during actual deployment.

        60 - 70 miles apart will probably be the average. Which is perfect.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @garylai
        To clarify:

        Nissan has already chosen the Chademo (TEPCO) for all Nissan Leafs... but official U.S. standardization will allow public funds and volume production to help deploy Level III chargers in every Nissan dealership in the U.S.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @garylai
        In Japan, the Nissan Dealerships will have Level III DC chargers. But in Japan, they have a good standard from TEPCO.

        In the U.S., it will be Level II chargers. At least until the US adopts a Level III standard.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This 100 mile range, is that 100 mile for Joe Schmoe who isn't driving efficiently or the average of Joe Schmoe and Hypermiler Harry?
        • 4 Years Ago
        I will tell you what my grade school teacher use to tell us. Just remmeber class, their are no stupid questions, the only stupid question, is the one you ask.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Actually, the plans include charging stations along I-90, so east-west is covered too.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Cool, I can drive north and south in Washington, but not east and west!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Come on guys, they are trying to do something good and it's a first step. I wish they were doing this in the Atlanta area!

      Let's not beat them up too much here.

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