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Hands-On: A Trip Down Portland’s Electric Avenue And Beyond In A Nissan Leaf [VIDEO]

Advanced charging infrastructure in Portland, Ore. allows electric vehicle drivers to go further, faster
Kyle Thibaut
Portland may be associated with the “Dream of the 90s” thanks to IFC’s Portlandia, but after a visit to check out their EV charging infrastructure, we’d have to disagree. Portland is modern, progressive, and prepared to take on a large EV population.
Nissan provided us with a 2013 Leaf for the weekend to try out Portland’s EV networks and note how fast the charge times were. We drove 300 miles in 48 hours, with about 14 hours spent with the car on. No matter how you slice it, that’s a lot of driving; but for an EV with a limited range, that would be darn right impossible without a little help.

The support for these EV infrastructure initiatives come from non-profits, local and state governments, and private corporations. From Electric Avenue near Portland State University, to the collaboration of all corporate and municipal efforts tied to what’s known as “The West Coast Electric Highway,” Portland has it going on.

The West Coast Electric Highway is a federally funded initiative that will install over 80 public charging stations throughout Oregon, including 43 DC fast chargers and 43 Level 2 chargers (60 currently, 86 by end of year).

Oregon is also a part of a national EV deployment initiative called “The EV Project” that is managed by ECOtality. So far they have installed around 400 Level 2 commercial chargers, almost 800 Level 2 residential chargers, and 14 DC fast chargers within the Willamette Valley. According to their site, “drivers of the Nissan LEAF zero-emissions electric car and the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid with extended range, who qualify to participate in The EV Project will receive a free residential charger.”

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