Washington State plug-in vehicle charging stations along Interstate 5 are getting used more than twice as much as they were a year ago, the Associated Press says, citing a study from the Washington State Department of Transportation. In September, the state's 14 fast-charging stations along I-5 were collectively used 1,155 times, up from 528 sessions a year earlier. All told, those stations have been used more than 10,000 times since their installation last year.

Stations on other, less-traveled state routes are not doing as well, though, with some getting used as few as 10 times a month. The state has been working with the federal government to ensure a string of charging stations exist along the 580-mile stretch of I-5 spanning from the Oregon to Canadian borders. In Oregon, the state's 34 stations along I-5 have also been used about 10,000 times since last year.

The study reflects the fact that the Pacific Northwest is a plug-in happy place. With Washington State home to about 5,000 registered plug-ins, the state has about 380 publicly accessible charging stations, or about one for every 15,000 registered vehicles, according to the US Department of Energy. That compares to about 6,760 publicly accessible charging stations in the US, or one for every 37,000 registered vehicles.


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  • 37 Comments
      JakeY
      • 1 Year Ago
      @Dave R You can put chargers on the ground before the cars come out, and the hold up there is the UL listing that is required for liability/safety reasons. There are about 7 charger manufacturers still waiting for that before they can release chargers. Some chargers have been installed but is not active for public use until the UL listing is done.
      electric-car-insider
      The west coast electric highway in WA and OR is great, I wish California was as with the program, especially along the 5 and 101. A curious thing about the Aerovironmebt chargers is that although they are free, you have to use an access card or call to get them to turn the chargers on. Not a web app, you talk to an operator. Odd that they don't have a more streamlined, automated system.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @electric-car-insider
        Well I think California is depending on NRG to install some chargers per that settlement agreement.
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          And dual-standard I would expect.
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          Yes, the terms require both Chademo and SAE-Combo fast chargers as long as they are both active standards.
      danfred411
      • 1 Year Ago
      Shows how few stations is needed to service many cars. Although 10k is a decent number it's actually one charge per station per day. But that probably doesn't mean that the supply is plenty. If there is only one chademo per site that means you can easily find it in use thus doubling your time. It's important to have massive over capacity so people don't fear using them. But the whole world has grotesquely dropped the ball on charge infrastructure. So sluggish. There is not a government or municipality in the world that isn't totally guilty. What should be done is a project to develop inexpensive chademo/sae stations and then litter the land with them. The few greedy idiots who do chademos now need not apply. I've done a bit of cost assessment on 60 and 125A designs and they can be ridiculously inexpensive if designed with cost optimization in mind. Just seeing that fat pillar design from AV there offends me greatly. It just reeks of sloppy careless design. "Industrial" in the sense that cost and size is not an object. As offensive as the plug design itself. Btw very very few manufacture that plug in the world and last I checked they want 2000$ for the plug. Just the plug... It's like they go out of their way to be stupid and counter productive.
        Mike
        • 1 Year Ago
        @danfred411
        " I've done a bit of cost assessment on 60 and 125A designs and they can be ridiculously inexpensive if designed with cost optimization in mind." There is something to be said for designing for reliability, not just cost. Just saying.
          danfred411
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Mike
          I could design it to not be working as well and make it free. Of course it's reliable. Cost optimization doesn't mean to a fault. It's a fallacy to think that cost optimized somehow means defective. It doesn't. There is such a thing as being smart.
      Ziv
      • 1 Year Ago
      I don't know about the I-5 corridor, but here in Northern Virginia we have a good handful (9 chargers in 2 locations) of free chargers and they are full more often than not at lunch and dinner time. Off peak hours I would say each individual charger is in use 10-20% of the time in daytime off peak hours. And those businesses near the free chargers are getting a ton of loyal shoppers/diners by giving out pennies worth of free electricity.
        Ele Truk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ziv
        Yeah, but are those DC Fast Charge stations, or just J1772 Level 2? This whole conversation is about the fast charge stations, and I seriously doubt Northern Virginia as 9 of them.
          Ziv
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Ele Truk
          I have to admit I ignored the thread subject. 14 chargers that were used 1155 times in a complete month are interesting in the potential of what they foreshadow, but we are talking about each charger being used less than 3 times a day. It is great that the beginnings of a charging network are going into place, but the L2 chargers are getting used a lot more than that and, more importantly to me, I can use an L2 charger and I can't use fast chargers. Sorry about the mild threadjack...
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Ele Truk
          His sound like L2. DCFC isn't pennies and they don't come in banks right now (except for Tesla's superchargers). Plugshare shows only 5 DCFCs in all of Northern Virginia (and DC), and one of those is at a Nissan dealer.
      Rotation
      • 1 Year Ago
      I was just at the BMW dealer today seeing an i3 (with J1772 SAE CCS). The dealer said the cars will come around in May or June. That's not quite soon. I don't expect most customers will get the range extender.
      Dave R
      • 1 Year Ago
      @Rotation - why do we need dual-format stations when there are still no combo-capable vehicles on the road or even on sale?
      aatheus
      • 1 Year Ago
      And yet the DCFCs between Davis and the Oregon border still do not exist. Come on, California!
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @aatheus
        Already announced. Let's see some followthrough please! All of I-5 please.
      Rotation
      • 1 Year Ago
      Dave R: Because they will be here soon. Good to have the chargers for the vehicles that use the coming standard. These chargers will not cease to exist when SAE CCS cars come out. So best to invest a little bit more money on dual-standard chargers so they can remain useful as SAE CCS takes over from CHAdeMO.
      JakeY
      • 1 Year Ago
      @Rotation "Eaton up on a SAE/CHAdeMO conversion I expect" I expect that too. That's one of the advertised features of the charger, but I'm not sure if it support dual connectors (it may just be one connector that can be changed).
      Dave R
      • 1 Year Ago
      @Rotation - we have 10s of thousands of CHAdeMO cars driving around TODAY and we still don't have nearly enough stations. Nissan is selling 2,000 LEAFs a month, the vast majority on the west coast including California. Yet I can tell you that there is still far too few stations available despite the LEAF being on the road now for almost 3 years. Money should be spent supporting cars on the road today, not cars that might not start trickling onto the road for another 6+ months at the earliest.
      Dave R
      • 1 Year Ago
      @JakeY - there are no combo plug capable cars for sale. There are two coming soon but have the following issues: Spark EV - Only selling in dismal numbers on the west coast. LEAF is outselling it by 10x. i3 - Should start shipping soon, but with a range extender option I imagine most will opt to occasionally burn a bit of gas (which they can refill in
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      The fast-charge standards war has got to be the worst thing about EVs right now.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        It does suck, the suckest part is this should be behind us by now. But the SAE CCS folks can't get their stuff off the ground.
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