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Published on May 31st, 2012 | by Glenn Meyers


West Coast Electric Highway Expands to Washington, Now Extends to Canadian Border

May 31st, 2012 by  


Start saying so long to fossil fuels — 10 new electric vehicle charging sites from AeroVironment added along Interstate 5 and U.S. Route 2

The future is now looking far brighter for West Coast EV owners.

The West Coast Electric Highway, a border-to-border endeavor in North America, has moved closer to becoming a reality. Today 10 new EV charging sites opened, extending the highway to the Canadian border and opening it to EV drivers hailing from both the US and Canada.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and its electric charging station partner AeroVironment opened 10 new public charging stations — seven along Interstate 5 and three along U.S. Route 2 in northern Washington.

“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 in a press announcement.

Gregoire added we are entering an era that protects the environment from vehicle emissions and builds a road leading away from American dependence on foreign oil and capricious gas prices.

Eight of the 10 new charging stations in Washington feature AeroVironment’s  “DC fast chargers.” These chargers can provide a full charge for a nearly spent EV battery in less than 30 minutes. Each location includes AeroVironment Level 2 chargers, which provide EV drivers with convenient charging while they grab a bite to eat, run errands or visit with friends.

“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 seen as a fundamental part of a future transportation corridor from the Canadian to Mexican borders.

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.

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 have access to the charging stations by enrolling in AeroVironment’s Charging Network at or by calling 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.

Travel will become particularly more pleasant for those many who loathe the smell of gasoline and diesel.

Source: Business Wire, Energy Efficiency News
Photo: Business Wire

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About the Author

is a writer, producer, and director. Meyers was editor and site director of Green Building Elements, a contributing writer for CleanTechnica, and is founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.

  • Electric cars are they conserving energy? Rev5
    Ask yourselves what is the real cost of “Electric Car”?
    Note: Electricity is a secondary form of energy derived by utilizing one form of energy to produce electric current.
    Let us look at the facts:
    In order to produce electricity, we need some form of energy to generate electricity, whereby you lose a substantial amount of your original source of energy in the generation process.
    In the process we are losing the efficiency of the initial energy source, since it is not a direct use of the energy.
    Let us take it a step further. To generate electricity we utilize; coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, hydro electric – water, photovoltaic-solar, wind, geothermal, etc. Many electricity generating plants utilize fossil fuel, which creates pollution.
    Do you realize how much of the initial source of energy you lose to get the electricity you need for your electric automobile; you also lose electricity in the transmission lines.
    Why are we jumping to a new technology, without analyzing the economic cost, the effective return and efficiency of such technology; while computing and measuring its affect on the environment?
    Natural gas vehicles are a direct source of energy, where you get the most for your energy source – in efficiency and monetary value. Cost of natural gas to a comparable gallon of gas ranges around $1, it has higher octane and extends the life of your engine, it is also safer than gas.  Natural gas vehicles have over 90% efficiency – Electric cars have just over 30% efficiency. Electric cars you loose some of the charge when the vehicle is idle for many days.
    In these hard economic times – I would think, you would want to get the most for your dollar – and not waste resources.
    Another economic impact would be the loss of road tax on fuel, these funds are used to build and maintain the highway infrastructure.
    “It is Cheaper to Save Energy than Make Energy”
    YJ Draiman, Director of Utilities & Sustainability

    • Bob_Wallace

      When we extract natural gas from underneath the Earth’s surface and burn it for its stored energy we increase the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere.

      That is not a good thing.

      Leave the sleeping carbon alone.  Do not awake the sleeping carbon.

      There is not one damned thing sustainable about natural gas.

      BTW,  you are pretty danged wrong about the efficiency of EVs.   And there is no way that burning NG in a ICEV is 90% efficiency.

      Just to add to the list of things you are wrong about.

    • Guest

      Your efficiency guesstimates are way off. See for a detailed analysis which shows that the well-to-wheels efficiency of a battery electric car (Tesla Roadster) is 3.6 times HIGHER than a car that directly burns CNG (Honda CNG).

      This is also borne out by the MPGe numbers from the EPA. They rate the Honda CNG at 31 MPGe and the Nissan LEAF at 99 MPGe. See So, not only are electric cars much, much more energy efficient than internal combustion engine cars, but they also pollute much, much less, depending on the source of the electricity. If the electricity comes from burning natural gas, electric cars only contribute about 1/3 of the greenhouse gasses of a CNG-burning car. If the electricity comes from hydro, wind or solar (as most of it does in Washington), then electric cars can be truly zero-emission.

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  • JMin2020

    We can use more of these Electric Highways. Ultimately it is a nice step in the right direction for the development of an electrified transportation system.

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