Washington State plan for its end of the West Coast Electric Highway

West Coast Electric Highway reaches Canadian border

The West Coast Electric Highway expansion in Washington now extends to Canadian Border. How long before we get a Coast-to-Coast Electric Highway?

According to the news release, today the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), along with electric charging station partner AeroVironment (NASDAQ: AVAV) opened ten new public charging stations; seven along Interstate 5 and three along U.S Route 2 in northern Washington, They will provide EV drivers the ability to travel emission-free from Seattle to the Canadian border.

This opening of new EV charging sites begins to fulfill the border-to-border vision of the West Coast Electric Highway, extending the highway to the Canadian border and opening it to electric vehicle (EV) drivers from both countries.

“Today moves us a giant step closer to the day when we can drive our electric cars from Bellingham, Washington to San Diego, California along Interstate 5, secure in the knowledge we can quickly recharge our vehicles along the way,” said Washington Governor Chris Gregoire. “And today is the beginning of a new era in Washington state. An era where we take a giant step toward protecting our environment from damage caused by vehicle emissions, one that will help free us from our dependence on foreign oil, and one that protects drivers from volatile gas prices.”

Eight of the 10 new charging stations in Washington feature AeroVironment’s state of the art “DC fast chargers,” which deliver a full charge for a nearly-depleted EV battery in less than 30 minutes. All locations include AeroVironment Level 2 chargers, which provide EV drivers with convenient charging while they grab a bite to eat, run errands or visit with friends.

The locations are strategically placed near desirable shopping and entertainment venues for drivers, which will benefit drivers and businesses alike. Two of the 10 locations – at rest areas near Blaine and Vancouver – offer only Level 2 chargers. There, electricity is provided free to drivers by Adopt a Charger and the Seattle Electric Vehicle Association.

“A 21st-century transportation system in Washington must provide options for drivers, especially as more people convert to electric vehicles,” said Washington State Secretary of Transportation Paula Hammond. “Creating a sustainable transportation system protects our air from harmful emissions and conserves our resources.”

The West Coast Electric Highway is a vision for a transportation corridor from the Canadian to Mexican borders, connecting California, Oregon and Washington along I-5 that fully supports electric vehicles. Inaugurated in Southern Oregon on March 16, 2012, the West Coast Electric Highway’s expansion in Washington creates international opportunities, opening the gateway to Canada.

The AeroVironment charging stations are available at convenient locations in Blaine, Bellingham, Burlington, Tumwater, Centralia, Ridgefield and Vancouver along Interstate 5 and in Sultan, Skykomish and Leavenworth along U.S. Route 2. Two additional stations will be installed in the coming weeks.

“AeroVironment is a pioneer of the modern-day electric vehicle industry,” said Kristen Helsel, vice president of business development for AeroVironment’s Efficient Energy Systems business. “Partnering with visionaries like Washington State allows us to provide EV drivers with charging solutions wherever they are—and to travel greater distances in their electric vehicles. Together, we’re growing the EV infrastructure to realize a clean transportation and energy independent future.”

The U. S. Department of Energy provided seed funding of $1.5 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to expand the West Coast Electric Highway in Washington. The funding is administered by the Department of Commerce through the State Energy Program.

Electric vehicle drivers will be able to access the charging stations by first enrolling in AeroVironment’s Charging Network at evsolutions.com/avnetwork or by calling toll-free at 888-833-2148. Once enrolled, EV drivers will receive an AeroVironment Network key fob that will provide free access to all AeroVironment chargers along the West Coast Electric Highway for a limited time.