• Aug 9, 2010
Quick charge station in Portland, OR – Click above to watch video after the jump

The installation of what's being dubbed "North America's first public quick-charge station" is now complete at the parking garage of the World Trade Center building in downtown Portland, OR. The nation's first public charger is capable of taking most electric vehicles from zero to 80 percent charge in just 20 to 30 minutes.

The grand opening was lead by Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski, who's seen in the video below cautiously attaching the charging cable to the Nissan Leaf. As Engadget reports, use of the quick-charge station is free of charge, but entry into the public parking garage will set you back three dollars.

Follow the jump to read more about the nation's first public quick-charge station and don't forget to watch the Nissan Leaf as it inches its way in for an electron fill up. Hat tip to Raymond!

[Source: Portland General Electric, Engadget]



Show full PR text

Portland General Electric opens North America's first public-use quick-charge station for electric vehicles in collaboration with NEC Electric vehicles can charge up in 20 to 30 minutes


PORTLAND, Ore. - Portland General Electric (NYSE: POR), Oregon's largest utility, and NEC Corporation (NEC; TSE: 6701), a leading network, communications and information technology company, announced today they have opened North America's first public-use, quick-charge station for electric vehicles.

The station was awarded public-use certification by the City of Portland following the successful installation and testing of the station manufactured by Takasago Ltd., a subsidiary of NEC, at the PGE headquarters in the Two World Trade Center parking garage, 121 SW Salmon St, Portland, Ore. The Takasago Rapid Charging Station is specialized for recharging electric vehicles with lithium-ion batteries and requires only 20 to 30 minutes to recharge a battery to 80 percent of full strength.

PGE and NEC officially opened the quick-charge station today with Governor Ted Kulongoski, who charged up an all-electric Nissan LEAF, during a two-day LEAF test drive event at PGE. Portland and the state of Oregon have been designated as top-tier launch markets for the Nissan LEAF when it goes on sale in the United States in December.

"Quick-charging stations are an exciting advancement in our effort to bring electric vehicles to Oregon," said Gov. Kulongoski. "By making charging convenient and available for public use, we are telling car manufacturers that Oregon is ready for the next generation of electric vehicles - and we want our state to be a leader in introducing these cars to the rest of the country."

"Partnering with NEC to bring the nation's first publicly available, quick-charge station to Oregon further solidifies PGE's commitment to developing the infrastructure needed to support electric vehicles now coming to the U.S. market," said Jim Piro, president and CEO, PGE.

"With the addition of the Takasago Rapid Charging Station to the growing network of EV charging stations in Oregon, we are able to further our research on how this new technology will interact with our electrical system and support our EV-driving customers," Piro added.

"This project reflects NEC's ongoing commitment to the development of new infrastructure that utilizes renewable resources. As a supplier of electric vehicle batteries, our introduction of the rapid electric vehicle charging station is a natural stage in the evolution of NEC's environmentally friendly solutions," said Hideki Niwaya, general manager, Public Utility Solutions Division, NEC. "Looking forward, NEC aims to continue developing mission critical solutions, including information and communications technologies (ICT) services and smart grids that represent the latest in technological innovation."

The Takasago Rapid Charging Station complies with the "CHAdeMO," a global EV charging standard developed in Japan. The station provides power output of 50kw (50-500V, 0-125A) and supports power input of AC200V+-30V.

PGE's alliance partner, Portland State University, and the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium will document the acquisition, installation, certification, and testing procedures for this quick charger and release its findings in September.


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  • 34 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Portland Metro gets most of it's energy from natural gas, wind , hydroelectric. Coal also generates some of our electricity but is currently slated to be phased out in a few years.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This push toward electric cars is nothing short of insane.

      It does however fit in with everything else going on that is f#cked up: record deficits, takeovers, bailouts, spending, socialized medicine, Obama, etc.

      Our grid is over capacity now and 50% of our electricity comes from coal. Electric vehicles are the last thing yo'd want to solve the fake global warming - I mean, climate change, problem.

      People need to wake up and see this has nothing to do with the planet for starters and then stop letting lunatic liberals run our lives. There is a reason other countries who tried these liberal ideas are going back the other way now - they failed.

      Look at greece. As only one example.
      • 4 Years Ago
      So PGE is providing electricity for EV drivers free of charge, as a demonstration project of some sort? Or is there some fee for recharging at this station? Anyone know?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well, considering that the number of EV's around is pretty small, it's not like they are going to lose a large sum of money. I wouldn't doubt that this is kind of an introductory thing and if they see that the demand increases dramatically, they'll implement a fee of some kind.

        Plus, as was mentioned in the story, the entry fee for the garage is $3.00, maybe they will just take a cut of that and put it towards the station?

        So, now we have 1 quick charge station, we only need hundreds of thousands more of them to make it somewhat viable. Sweet.
      • 4 Years Ago
      So a single car sits there for 30 minutes? Does anybody else besides me see a problem with this? So there's going to be one of these huge buggers sitting at every spot in a parking garage then? The driver has to be back in 30 minutes to move his car? I have to give my keys to some car jockey twit to move my car?

      No thanks.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Do they even have standard plugs for plug in hybrids/electric vehicles yet? How are you going to charge, pull up and be like damn wrong plug, guess I'm walkin?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Oregon? lol. Why?
      • 4 Years Ago
      So, if its in Portland, OR, does that mean its against the law to pump the electrons yourself (like the liquid fueling stations)?
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's a station that provides a charge absolutely free. It's located inside of a parking garage so the park fee still applies but only @ $3.00 so it's pretty inexpensive. I believe the units will continue to be installed and operated in and around the portland area and will continue to be free of charge.
      • 4 Years Ago
      How is the electricity these "eco-friendly" cars use generated?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Mostly coal and oil.
        • 4 Years Ago
        In Oregon and Washington, a good percentage of power generation comes from hydroelectric dams, which aren't without their faults, but they're clean compared to burning fossil fuels.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good thing everyone else who pays a parking fee, is paying for your energy, there. Nicely collective, there. :D

      Until everyone figures that out, and then there is a queue a few dozen feet long, of people waiting for 30 minutes a pop, for people to charge their electric cars on other people's money. All 7 of them.

      The same people re-charging, driving a 50 miles out, and 50 miles back (80% charge, remember... and air-con on, remember) ...so not to get stranded, and waiting in line, and standing around spending 30 minutes of their life to wait for their car to charge up 80% again.

      What smug bliss for them.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Good thing everyone else who pays a parking fee, is paying for your energy"

        Well, considering Portland has cheap electricity prices that hover around $.08 per kWh and most people will not be charging from empty, then the $3 parking fee that the EV drivers are paying will easily cover their charging needs...

        Considering that you will not need to be paying for powerwashing spilled motor oil and cleaning of the exhaust particulate deposites off surfaces, then the money saved in maintenance on the parking garage probably comes pretty close to bringing the EV charging to cost parity.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "First, This is not Nissan's $17K quick charger. It is not a sealed system, and it likely has a much higher duty cycle, if it is accessible to anyone to pull up to it and use it, if they have an electric car. If it is built correctly, it should be able to charge car after car after car, indefinitely, like any gas pump, until the station's bulk tank is empty. The only thing that should stop that charger, is a malfunction, or a brown-out/black-out."

        Nissan's Level 3 charger is designed to charge "to charge car after car after car" as long as it is connected to the grid (no truck needed to refill it). NEC and Nissan are in a partnership, and even if the charger shown is not the same, it is similar.

        "Secondly, 17 grand for a charger is a significant additional cost to the price of a car. I could buy a damn nice used car for that. Maybe even a new economy gas-powered car. Again, the installed system pictured is probably much more expensive than 17 Grand, and somebody has to pay for that, it is just a matter of who."

        Do you own your own gas pump (they cost dramatically more)? You don't need Level 3 to charge the LEAF. Level 2 Chargers (8 hour charge) are $700 in the US. Level 1 is included in the car.

        "Thirdly, most people's houses don't have the current availability for a ~48kW fast charger"

        You don't need that for daily driving, only for long trips- no need for Level 3 in your house.

        "Do you pay for electricity at any given outlet, or do you use electricity that other people pay for, if you aren't directly in your own garage? Do you stay within a 35-50 mile radius from your garage, so that you can get back before your car dies?"

        I do or ask someone permission. Considering how little it is to charge the car, it would cost me more for me to by them a beer than to charge the car.
        

        "Secondly, I do have 1-3 gallons of gas in my garage at any given time…"

        good for you. Do you fill your car's gas tank up with that every night?

        "The parking fee is reported to be 3$. it doesn't say 3$ per hour, or even per day. And as I said, there are fixed costs for that installation, beyond the cost of the raw electric current."

        What's your point? The battery is only 24kWh, so even if it is empty, you can only charge it up to 24kWh. If you stay there 1 hour or 3 days, it is still 24 kWh. Even in the worst case situation where the battery is charging from dead flat (which is unlikely), that much electricity is $1.92. Parking is $3, so parking still costs more than the charge. The installation isn't that much when spread over enough cars.

        "If the EV thing is going to be pushed, those regulations are going to have to change. Building electricity charges into the parking fees for EVERYONE who patronizes that facility isn't fair to those who don't utilize electricity to charge their vehicles, and who do go out, and buy their own energy, and pay significant taxes on top of that. EV drivers are essentially getting a small subsidy, funded by the pool of patrons, and not having to pay road taxes that everyone else must."

        Yes, it should change to get more people to invest money in Level 3 Chargers that charge consumers (and generate revenue for their owner) to drive down cost. You can complain about "not fair", but the the cost is very small. It isn't fair that people I've known have been killed defending oil supplies.


        • 4 Years Ago
        How much does equipment cost to buy and maintain, and keep safe, that is capable of putting out at least 480 volts at 100amps, maybe more. 48000 watts. Considering that 220 @ about 20 amps probably takes 8 hours to charge, only 4400 watts.

        To move a car like a Nissan Leaf for 70-100 miles, not 300-400 miles like a tank of liquid fuel, available for refill almost anywhere except the most remote places where nobody goes without provisions.

        Even if the cost of only the current is .08$ per kW, it is 3.84$ for 48kW, for every hour that charger is in operation. That is before the cost of the high-current equipment, and the union electrical workers to maintain it, and the insurance for the facility to carry, in case someone shocks themselves into the afterlife with that kind of current, and all the other associated fixed costs.

        Heaven forbid that the costs be figured and charged directly at the recharging point, like energy otherwise is at other places... like gas stations. Where you pay for what you use, for the most part, and then some more, in taxes for the road and whatever else politicians spend it on...

        Or are electric vehicles exempt from road taxes, while everyone else is made to pay, too?

        There is no free lunch. It is just a matter of whether you pay for it, or you ask everyone else in the restaurant to pay your tab for you, along with their own.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Nissan developed a quick-charger for $17k. It is a sealed system, so maintenance is minimal."

        First, This is not Nissan's $17K quick charger. It is not a sealed system, and it likely has a much higher duty cycle, if it is accessible to anyone to pull up to it and use it, if they have an electric car. If it is built correctly, it should be able to charge car after car after car, indefinitely, like any gas pump, until the station's bulk tank is empty. The only thing that should stop that charger, is a malfunction, or a brown-out/black-out.

        Secondly, 17 grand for a charger is a significant additional cost to the price of a car. I could buy a damn nice used car for that. Maybe even a new economy gas-powered car. Again, the installed system pictured is probably much more expensive than 17 Grand, and somebody has to pay for that, it is just a matter of who.

        Thirdly, most people's houses don't have the current availability for a ~48kW fast charger, no matter how much it costs. Some smaller commercial properties don't even have that sort of electric service.

        "I can charge an electric car anyplace that has an electrical outlet- do you have a gasoline station in your garage?"
        Do you pay for electricity at any given outlet, or do you use electricity that other people pay for, if you aren't directly in your own garage? Do you stay within a 35-50 mile radius from your garage, so that you can get back before your car dies?
        

        Secondly, I do have 1-3 gallons of gas in my garage at any given time… enough that if my car was bone dry, I could use that to get to a gas-station up to 45 miles away. (even at a very very low estimate of 15mpg stop-and-go driving, which my car gets far better than.) And my cars are never bone-dry for gas.

        
"Considering that a typical EV has a capacity of 24kWh and it is very unlikely that it will be completely discharged, Then ~3 vehicles paying $3 each ($9 total) will have used that 48kWh for ~$5 profit."
        The parking fee is reported to be 3$. it doesn't say 3$ per hour, or even per day. And as I said, there are fixed costs for that installation, beyond the cost of the raw electric current.

        An electric car with 100 miles range, is more likely to be closer to "E" than a gas car with 2 gallons in reserve, even with the warning light on. That is if the EV is used to do more than go get groceries and back. As the batteries age, and have gone through hundreds of cycles, the duration and range will decrease, and be more and more likely to deplete quicker. An EV seems more likely to leave you stranded without energy after a far shorter range, than a car with a fuel tank.

        
"…You can't legally "charge directly" for the electricity used at charging points. You can, however, charge for parking or offer charging to customers at a store or restaurant buying a certain amount, so that is what is happening."

        If the EV thing is going to be pushed, those regulations are going to have to change. Building electricity charges into the parking fees for EVERYONE who patronizes that facility isn't fair to those who don't utilize electricity to charge their vehicles, and who do go out, and buy their own energy, and pay significant taxes on top of that. EV drivers are essentially getting a small subsidy, funded by the pool of patrons, and not having to pay road taxes that everyone else must.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This is obviously a PR stunt, like all installations of this type, I wouldn't get too worked up about it. If they weren't spending the money on this they would be spending it on a million dollar leaflet campaign to get people to buy more CFL bulbs.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "How much does equipment cost to buy and maintain, and keep safe, that is capable of putting out at least 480 volts at 100amps, maybe more. 48000 watts"

        Nissan developed a quick-charger for $17k. It is a sealed system, so maintenance is minimal.

        "available for refill almost anywhere except the most remote places where nobody goes without provisions."

        I can charge an electric car anyplace that has an electrical outlet- do you have a gasoline station in your garage?

        "Even if the cost of only the current is .08$ per kW, it is 3.84$ for 48kW, for every hour that charger is in operation."

        Considering that a typical EV has a capacity of 24kWh and it is very unlikely that it will be completely discharged, Then ~3 vehicles paying $3 each ($9 total) will have used that 48kWh for ~$5 profit.

        "Heaven forbid that the costs be figured and charged directly at the recharging point, like energy otherwise is at other places... like gas stations."

        Unfortunately, the way the laws are set up in this country, only official utilities are allowed to charge people directly for electricity. It would be great if you could stop by a quick charger and just pay ~$2 to recharge your vehicle. You can't legally "charge directly" for the electricity used at charging points. You can, however, charge for parking or offer charging to customers at a store or restaurant buying a certain amount, so that is what is happening.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'll buy an EV when they get the quick charge time to 80% capacity down to about 2 to 3 minutes..
      • 4 Years Ago
      20 minutes? They are going to need to do better than that.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Electric charging is going to take 20 or 30 minutes.... its not going to be like it is now where you just pump gas into a car and drive off in 5 minutes.

        I have an idea... how about they make lots of batteries and design cars to swap out batteries quickly so that you can drive up to the gas station and simply exchange batteries (like propane tanks)? Just keep the battery in the trunk under a battery cover.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ nicholiservia:

        It's been considered, but there are a couple of primary concerns with battery exchanging. One(a major one) being the size and weight of a battery pack. They easily weigh hundreds of pounds currently and these are new, lighter batteries as well. They are also large in size and removing them from a vehicle isn't as easy as taking a box out of the trunk. Due to their size, the car is built around the battery pack so you'd be talking about an exchange that would probably take at least as long as the 20-30min of this quick charger, probably longer.

        A company called Better Place has demonstrated such a battery swap system that they claim can do the swap in under 60sec. But, their system introduces other issues as well in addition to being quite expensive(about $500k per station). One concern is how to guarantee that the battery you swap for is as high a quality as the one you are giving up. The battery pack in an EV is somewhat equivalent to the engine in and ICE vehicle(not in it's job, but in terms of size, weight, and importance). How wacky an idea would it be to ask drivers to replace their ICE every couple of hundred miles and can you imagine how complicated that would be? While an EV battery is less complicated than an ICE, it's still no easy feat.

        Here's a link I found(from a Green Car site no less) that addresses many of the concerns and they are not convinced either.
        http://www.greencarreports.com/blog/1020699_better-place-video-showing-ev-battery-pack-quick-swap-were-not-convinced
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