The border-to-border vision of the West Coast Electric Highway moves closer to becoming a reality with the opening of new EV charging sites, extending the highway to the Canadian border and opening it to electric vehicle (EV) drivers from both countries.
On May 30, the Washington State Department of Transportation, along with 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.
Eight of the 10 new charging stations in Washington feature AeroVironment’s “DC fast chargers,” which deliver a full charge for a nearly-depleted EV battery in less than 30 minutes. All locations are strategically placed near desirable shopping and entertainment venues for drivers and include AeroVironment Level 2 chargers. 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.
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 was completed in Oregon in late March.
The AeroVironment charging stations are available in Blaine, Bellingham, Burlington, Tumwater, Centralia, Ridgefield, and Vancouver along Interstate 5 and in Sultan, Skykomish, and Leavenworth along U.S. Route 2.
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.