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USA: Stevenson hopes to entice electric cars

Some electric vehicle owners call it “range anxiety” — the fear that you’ll take your gas-free car on a trip somewhere only to run out of juice, stranded without a charging station in sight.

Stevenson hopes to ease the worries of drivers heading into the Columbia River Gorge this summer. The city is now touting its own charging station, installed late last year and well within range of the high-powered stations popping up along the Interstate 5 corridor. It’s the only station on the Washington side of the Gorge.

“You can get here easily. No range anxiety kicking in,” said Moli Thomas, a Stevenson City Council member and business owner who spearheaded the idea. “But you have to recharge to get home.”

Unlike others, Stevenson’s charging station didn’t receive any state or federal funding to get off the ground. The city, the Stevenson Business Association and the Port of Skamania County alone shared the $8,000 price tag. The station sits along Teo Park, overlooking the Columbia River below.

“We get lots of emails about how it’s the prettiest charging station they’ve ever seen,” Thomas said.

The Washington State Department of Transportation last year announced big plans for a network of stations along I-5, U.S. Highway 2 and Interstate 90, using a $1 million contract with California-based AeroVironment to make it happen. Ten stations opened last month.
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