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Joseph Rose: The truth about Portland’s no-charge electric car charging stations

Let me start with some unsolicited advice.

To the unhinged driver who gave his horn a good beating Thursday afternoon as traffic stopped for a family of ducks jaywalking across Southwest Garden Home Road near Oleson: Dude, get help.

Road raging against people who stop for baby ducklings? Really? I’m worried about you.

Now, to the mailbag:

Q: I’ve seen charging stations for electric vehicles outside of downtown Portland’s World Trade Center and at several places. Do EV drivers have to pay to plug into them?

A: Like so many things popping up along the high-tech highway to the future, it depends on where you find yourself – and what you mean by “pay.”

For instance, along Portland State University’s Electric Avenue, you can “refill” your Nissan Leaf for free at several charging stations lining the street. The university pays for the juice.

But – and this is where City Hall zaps you faster than you can say “range anxiety” – EV owners still have to pay $1.60 an hour to park in the spaces. The same goes for that unit on the street outside the World Trade Center.

This week, reported the Portland metro area was the fourth “greenest” U.S. market when it comes to shopping for autos.

Excited about the technology, even as it eats away at gas-tax revenue, the Oregon Department of Transportation has aggressively set up no-charge charging stations across the state, including in the Interstate 5 corridor. Kohl’s department stores and other business are still offering courtesy charges to customers.


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