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Oregon moves to expand electric vehicle charging network, using state property

A measure in the Oregon Legislature, SB536, would allow state agencies to install EV charging stations on state property, for public use.


Electric vehicle ownership in Oregon could become even easier with a new measure working its way through the Oregon Legislature. SB536 would allow state agencies to install electric car charging stations on state property. The measure passed the State Senate on Monday, and as of this writing has been handed over to the House and is on the Speakers desk.

The measure allows for a limited rollout of charging stations, at up to 5 locations per agency every two years (or 10 locations per two years for the Oregon Department of Administrative Services). Agencies could install more charging stations if they secure a grant to cover the cost.

Charging stations are to be installed by a vendor, who is in charge of distributing electricity through the charging station. The stations are to be available for public use, and a fee will be charged at these stations which will cover the cost of the stations. Oregon doesn't want to end up footing the bill for running the charging stations. Instead it wants to use State property and facilities for an expansion of the EV charging infrastructure.

According to a report in the Albany Tribune, the focus of the bill is to further expand the West Coast Electric Highway and other key routes through Oregon. The WCEH is a string of charging stations along the I-5 corridor from the Oregon-California border all the way to the Washington-Canada border. Originally the WCEH was to extend into California, but that never came into being.

Senator Jackie Dingfelder (D-Portland), chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources told the Albany Tribune: “Increasing the supply of EV charging stations will benefit Oregon’s economy by putting the state at the forefront of innovations for electric vehicles. Easy access to charging stations will promote use of electric vehicles, which leads to less air pollution, less reliance on foreign oil, and advancement towards our environmental goals.”

Oregon is home to a few companies in the electric vehicle business, most notably Brammo the makers of a leading electric motorcycle. Senator Alan Bates (D-Medford) was quoted by the Tribune saying “In my district, innovative companies like Brammo are leading the way for new technologies in transportation. Promoting access to electricity at state buildings will increase demand for EVs, which could lead to more high-paying jobs in my district and across Oregon.”

Source: SB 536 2013, Albany Tribune