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Electrician takes a trip down Washington’s “Electric Highway”

The future is electric, and the future is now – at least for Washington’s I-5 corridor.

Electrician Rich Hildreth drove an electric vehicle (EV) across Washington on July 30, starting in Blaine and ending in Vancouver, to demonstrate the convenience, environmental benefit and economic impact of Washington’s network of EV charging stations.

Washington covers one-third of what’s known as the West Coast Electric Highway, a network that stretches from Blaine to Baja, California. It provides EV fast-charging stations every 25 to 50 miles along I-5 and other major roadways in the Pacific
Northwest. Electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf and the Mitsubishi “I MiEV” plug into the grid to charge batteries carried onboard. The batteries in turn power the motors.

Most EVs can get a full charge at the DC-powered electric stations in 30 minutes or less, and the maximum distance a car can drive on a full charge ranges from 75 to 300 miles depending on the make and model.

Hildreth stopped at six electric stations along his route to meet with local officials and media. The topics of conversation covered climate change and his eye-catching ride – a Tesla Model S – but the main focus of the demonstration was to highlight how EV infrastructure can boost industry and local economies.

“As an electrician and a union member, I know how critical it is that our region helps lead the new green technology economy,” Hildreth said, adding that members of the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers (IBEW) #46 have been learning how to install and maintain EV stations around the state. “These efforts provide new investment and family-wage jobs as common-sense solutions to addressing climate change.”

He also cited the economic benefits charging stations can bring to rural communities.


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