A portion of the historic Oregon Trail is now blazing a new path as the nation’s next electric highway! Stretching from Northern California to Cottage Grove, Oregon, the new highway is designed to cater to electric vehicles with charging stations placed every 25 miles or so along the route. The new highway is a monumental step for the electric vehicle industry, giving EV owners access to charge spots outside of their homes and work places.

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Until the rest of the country catches up, 160 miles of Interstate 5’s 1,350 miles will be known as the Electric Highway. Installed as part of an agreement between Oregon, California and Washington state, the first stretch marks just part of the overall plan for I-5. By the end of 2012, the 500 miles between Canada and California will join the electric highway.

The charging stations are located at various businesses such as restaurants, motels and inns. Equipped with super-fast chargers, EV drivers can charge up in just 20 minutes, and for the time being, they can charge for free. With the Nissan Leaf’s average endurance of 70 miles, drivers will have ample range to charge up in case they miss one of the charging stations, since the next one will be only 25 miles away.

The new infrastructure is thought to encourage drivers to buy EVs – especially with the gratis charging. Both level 3 and level 2 chargers will be available in each of the eight stations, ensuring fast charging times, so drivers can “fill up” and be on their way. Funded by $915,00 in federal stimulus grants, the electric highway will expand to include Portland, as well as the route to Canada. The Interstate 5 electric highway is the second on the country, following the lead of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store restaurants’ charging stations that connects the 425 miles between Nashville and Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Via Fox News

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