• Aug 18th 2011 at 7:48PM
  • 15
Portland, OR strives to be the U.S. hub for plug-in vehicles. What other city has dedicated an entire block to plug-in vehicle charging? During a ceremony on Tuesday, Portland mayor Sam Adams plugged in the first vehicle at "Electric Avenue" and dedicated the charger-lined street. On display for the ceremony were plug-in vehicles from Nissan, Chevrolet and Mitsubishi and charging stations from Eaton, Ecotality, General Electric, OpConnect, Shorepower Technologies, and SPX.

Electric Avenue is but one point along the proposed plug-in corridor, ranging from Vancouver, BC in the north to Bend, Oregon in the south. Some portions of the corridor are scheduled to be operational by the end of 2012 and the tentative agreement also calls for an extension into California.

At the Electric Avenue ceremony, Jim Piro, chief executive officer of Portland General Electric, projected that by 2012 around 2020, up to one out of ten new vehicles registered in the city Portland will be of the plug-in type. Piro stated:
So for us, by then, that would be about 170,000 vehicles in the Portland metro area, or about 50 megawatts of additional capacity – barely enough for the utility's load to change, especially if vehicles charge at off-peak times.
Piro went on to say that even if all vehicles in Portland were electric, only one additional natural gas-to-electricity facility would be required. So, we've one city that seems pretty prepped for plug-ins – how long until the rest of the U.S. is ready, too?

*UPDATE: We got a note saying that Piro did not say he expects 1 percent (or 170,000 vehicles) of vehicles to be electric or hybrid in Oregon by 2012. He said, instead, that PCE's resource plan is to be able to support that many vehicles over the next 10 years. That would be 2020ish, not 2012, and would require a modest 50 MW.


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  • 15 Comments
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 4 Years Ago
      Portland, OR area does have a lot of excess hydroelectric capacity at night. It is no wonder that the electric revolution is happening pretty strong here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portland_General_Electric#Hydroelectric_plants
        Marco Polo
        • 4 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        @2WM. Congratulations to Portland! Even if only half actually eventuates, it would be terrific! Just two questions, if you don't mind? 1) What sort of discount tariff does Portland offer EV's at night? 2) Do you take part in the famous naked bike race? If so, what sort of bike? ;) I shall try to visit Portland during my next trip to the US.
          Chris Arnesen
          • 4 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          I'm a PGE customer utilizing time-of-use rates, so I can at least answer one of your questions. These are including all per-kWh taxes, fees, and discounts for residential customers (the prices on their website are just the per-kWh rate for the electricity alone). Mid-peak (same as Basic Service for non-time of use customers): $0.11723 Off-peak: $0.08553 On-peak: $0.17662 Here's the chart for what rates are in effect when: http://portlandgeneral.com/residential/your_account/billing_payment/time_of_use/docs/time_of_use_sticker.pdf
          Marco Polo
          • 4 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          Chris, Thank you for that information. Now, about the bike race ........:)
      Spec
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yep. All you have to do is offer time-of-use meter that gives cheap rates at night and you'd be able to convert every car to electric without adding a new station. There is a massive amount of over-capacity available at night that the power companies would love to have people use.
      • 4 Years Ago
      'At the Electric Avenue ceremony, Jim Piro, chief executive officer of Portland General Electric, projected that by 2012, one out of ten new vehicles registered in the city Portland will be of the plug-in type. Piro stated: So for us, by then, that would be about 170,000 vehicles in the Portland metro area, or about 50 megawatts of additional capacity – barely enough for the utility's load to change, especially if vehicles charge at off-peak times.' ?? Portland will perform remarkably, if by 2012 it will have more than the total number of electric vehicles that will be produced in the world in that year. Presumably 2020 is meant. Aren't there any proof readers at ABG?
        Chris M
        • 4 Years Ago
        That's 1 out of 1 NEW vehicles, not 1 of 10 vehicles on the road - the number of older vehicles greatly outnumber the new vehicles and always will. I don't know how many NEW vehicles are expected to be sold next year, but I suspect it will be far less than 170,000.
      Edge
      • 4 Years Ago
      > projected that by 2012, one out of ten new vehicles registered in the city Portland will be of the plug-in type. That does not make sense, considering the state of EV availability, and EV infrastructure right now.
      Actionable Mango
      • 4 Years Ago
      I-5 corridor is perfect for this. It's well-traveled for business and vacations, and it is adjacent to several cities that are or could easily become pro-electric. Vancouver BC, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Get the gaps small enough to remove range anxiety and it will grow from there.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ten percent EVs by 2020 sounds great. It's good that they seem to take the whole 'Prius cluster' thing into consideration since currently not all residences have their electrical connections maxed out for the future. That shouldn't be too much of a problem though, just some new transformers here and there with some new cables if required.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Some new transformers here and there with some new cables required". I dont think capacity has ever been an issue. Most power plants are long on generation, if not, the power could always be purchased. It will be the circuits in the distribution system that gets taxed. The upgrades needed to accomidate charging to prevent transformers from being overloaded which will sharply decrease their lifespan, is the bigger issue. That is where the cost and time spent will be the most significant.
      spw
      • 4 Years Ago
      1/10 out of all vehicles is crazy... it means only PHEVs or EVs will be sold for few years :-)
        Chris M
        • 4 Years Ago
        @spw
        It's 1 in 10 new registrations, and it will be several decades before enough old vehicles are replaced to make plug-ins 1 of 10 vehicles on the road.
      Randy C
      • 4 Years Ago
      You want to hear something funny? Nobody says one darn thing if 100,000 homes decide to add air conditioning. Yet mention there will be 100,000 new electric cars and you hear all kinds of ruckus. Electric cars use about as much electricity as your average water heater while a home air conditioner uses 2 to 3 times more than that. Another example of those who stand to loose the most in an electric car world spreading misinformation.
        MTN RANGER
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Randy C
        That's true, my AC in the summer costs about $200 a month. A Volt will only increase my bill by $40.
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