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USA: Astoria gets charged for electric vehicles

ASTORIA – Work has begun to install an electric vehicle (EV) fast-charging station at the transit center in Astoria.
This charging station is one of 22 stations strategically located from Florence to Hood River. The Oregon Department of Transportation is working with California-based AeroVironment to provide, install and maintain the 480-volt fast-charging stations. The $2-million project is funded by a U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER II (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant, and is intended to connect electric vehicle drivers in the Willamette Valley to the north Oregon coast.
The charging stations are currently free to use, but will eventually charge a fee for service. “It will definitely be much cheaper than operating a gas car,” said Ashley Horvat, the West Coast Electric Highway project manager.
In fall 2011, ODOT identified several northwest Oregon communities as potential hosts for EV fast-charging stations.
The communities selected include Scappoose, Clatskanie, Astoria, Cannon Beach, Elsie, Tillamook, Grand Ronde and Lincoln City, and were chosen because they are located within 50 miles of each other and would create a web of EV charging stations.
Horvat said that the Banks to Cannon Beach route is kind of concerning because of the demanding terrain on Highway 26 through the Coast Range.
ODOT has considered placing a charging station at Elsie or Camp 18, but neither of these places has three-phase power, which is needed for the fast charging stations. The cost of bringing three-phase power to these areas runs over $100,000, Horvat said.
The project team plans to test drive the route in an electric vehicle to see if the terrain proves to be too much of a drain on the car’s battery.


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