Brit Liggett

First Electric Highway in US to be I-5 from Canada to Oregon

by , 07/02/10

electric freeway, electric highway, electric charging station, electric car infrastructure, grid infrastructure

Washington state is about to turn a section of Interstate-5 — all the way from Canada to Oregon — into the nation’s first electric highway. Thanks to a $1.32 million federal grant, they’ll be able to install 10 Level-3 electric charging stations along the route. Each station is capable of charging at 400 volts and 30 amps or more and at these stations a typical EV would be 80% charged in just about 30 minutes. Plug in, grab a cup of coffee, chat with fellow travelers, and be on your way.

electric freeway, electric highway, electric charging station, electric car infrastructure, grid infrastructure

The state is planning on building the electric transportation mecca in the fall of this year, after a bidding process this summer by electric charging station manufacturers takes place. The state is hoping to be able to install stations every 80 miles, as most new electric vehicles — like the Leaf and the Volt — have a charging range of 100 miles.

Level-3 charging stations generally don’t charge a battery completely and cold and inclement weather are also an issue. Electric vehicle battery ranges change as the temperature varies around them and with Washington’s notoriously cold and rainy seasons, it could prove to be a problem. For now, however, we’re applauding the state on their forward thinking and are green with envy of the soon to be even greener I-5 corridor.

Via Autoblog Green

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11 Comments

  1. penny_gruber July 12, 2010 at 9:49 am

    It’s a silly plan. Until battery technology improves by ten times or more battery electric vehicles will be little more than expensive toys. Batteries are good for reclaiming braking energy, and allowing combustion engines to run at peak efficiency. They are too: large, heavy, and expensive to compete with fuel even at $10.00 / gallon.

    In the meantime head packet_sender’s advice: Aesop is Mark Goldes advertising vehicle where he tries to pick the pockets of the naive with tall tales of perpetual motion schemes they can “assist with” or invest in.

  2. Neshobe July 11, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Who are they kidding? This project is on an already overcrowded interstate that cuts right through the Puget Sound urban corridor. It would not serve the needs of the residents of Washington, nor contribute anything meaningful to reducing traffic congestion, energy consumption, or global warming. It is another form of denial. WA has a long history of favoring freeways over public transportation, and the first major local rail system (an overpriced monorail) connects downtown Seattle with Sea-Tac airport rather than serving much-needed commuter routes to the east and other areas.

  3. perfectcirclecarpenter July 7, 2010 at 7:16 am

    WE CAN DO FAR BETTER THAN ADDING CHARGING STATIONS.
    We need to upgrade our entire electric utility grid. We also need train systems linking close cities, as well as coast to coast. We will soon be demanding an electric vehicle infrastructure. But most of all we need a Hoover Dam type project that would revitalize the economy. I propose to merge all of this along the interstate system, reinforced by a new type of city, Linear City, which is profoundly different from a standard sprawling city.
    The new grid runs in tandem with the power source for electric bullet trains parallel to the interstate system. HOV and EV unite as a power induction lane, eliminating the need for large batteries in an EV for interstate travel, and giving lightweight EV cars a lane separated from heavy trucks for added safety and convenience. Alongside the interstate and rail is the frontage lane of Linear City, where warehouses and industrial structures support solar power roofing, which feeds into the grid at multiple points along its length, making it much more efficient than long strands of isolated power lines.
    Linear City can comfortably house 10,000 people per square mile, keeping people within walking distance of any train or bus station, for a car free lifestyle. Each living space averages 1000 sq ft per person, yet no structure is greater than 5 floors high. Linear City is a smart zoning program that prevents suburban sprawl from encumbering growth.

  4. silverwolf13 July 6, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    If we just trade our gas guzzlers for electrics, we will still be cutting down trees to build concrete and asphalt roads. What we really need is more electric trains and buses.

  5. packet_sender July 5, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Do not follow the link provided by Mark Goldes.
    It\’s a sham \’non-profit\’ organization site run by Goldes that posts his \’articles\’ which are pleas for investment in is 20+ year old free energy scams.

  6. enemil July 4, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    Is there anyway like an electric train to charge a vehicle while it is enroute? I remember watching a PBS show where they mentioned that gas cars use only a small percentage of their output to propel the passenger, the bulk of the energy goes to propelling the vehicle itself. With electric vehicles the bulk of the weight seems to be the battery pack. I was thinking a system where vehicles charge and run off a grid while on major thoroughfares than switch to the battery to go off grid on side streets. In addition, I thought the system could be used to reduce traffic congestion by incorporating a guidance system that regulates traffic flow. Obviously I’m not an engineer, but I’d be curious to hear smarter people punch holes in the practicality of such a scheme, besides the fact that Americans love their vehicles free and independent.

  7. dss49 July 3, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    I don’t understand why they don’t just standardize the battery… when you need a charge, you just swap yours out for a fully charged battery, avoiding the 30 minute wait. Isn’t that how the systems being implemented in Australia, Israel, and Denmark are rigged?

  8. bookmarkjedi July 3, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    Thanks for the post. Although I love the idea of weaning the world off gasoline, I have a few concerns with these charging stations. First, if there is initially only one charging station every 80 miles, what about the possibility that there may be quite a few people who miss the exit for the charging station–for instance, because of driver distraction?

    More importantly, how many cars will these charging stations be able to handle at any given time? Even if there are 500, or even 1,000 charging booths (which would be massive), the total throughput per hour would only be twice that figure–serving a mere fraction of the total traffic.

  9. Green Angel July 3, 2010 at 1:41 am

    Yes! And be sure to check out the video here at the end of this article about Joseph-Fell coming to SF the 12th of July- be there, He is responsible for co author of the bill that made Germany 20% solar http://www.examiner.com/x-50672-SF-Solar-Energy-Examiner~y2010m6d29-SF-Pacific-Environmental-hosts-Hans-JosefFell-German-parliamentarian-coauthor-of–Feedin-Tariff

  10. AuntieM July 2, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    Hurray! We have an electrical inspection next week for our Leaf charging station at home here in the Mojave Desert of California. Glad to hear some progress is being made for the I-5 even though that stretch of I-5 is way up north and too far away for us to be of use with the Leaf right now. Maybe someday!

  11. Mark Goldes July 2, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    The irony is that more advanced electric propulsion systems will not require any recharge. See Moving Beyond Oil at http://www.aesopinstitute.org

    These revolutionary systems will turn cars into power plants when appropriately parked.

    Eventually, they may produce sufficient power to have the car or truck pay for itself as an investment.

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