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NEWS - America's First 'Electric Highway' Will Be Up And Running Within Months

Electric charging station

As more electric cars begin rolling off production lines, the need for infrastructure to support alternative-energy vehicles becomes increasingly vital.
Washington has been prepping its roadways for the future wave of electric cars for more than a year by planning an extensive network of recharging stations in the nation's first "Electric Highway."
The state hopes that by eliminating "range anxiety" — the fear of running out of battery power and constant bane of the electric vehicle industry — it will encourage users to invest in the latest generation of electric cars.
"What stops people from purchasing electric vehicles is not knowing what charging will be available," said Tonia Buell, project development and communication manager at the Washington State Department of Transportation.
The sustainable-fuel highway means electric-vehicle owners will have the confidence to travel long distances if easy and convenient charging stations are available.
Washington's electric highway is actually part of a larger, tri-state initiative known as the West Coast Green Highway, involving Washington, Oregon, and California.
The goal is to create the first border-to-border electric-vehicle friendly interstate that links British Columbia to Baja, California.
According to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), the project will create 1,350 electrified miles on Interstate 5, serving more than 2 million vehicles by 2020.
The state received $1.32 million in federal stimulus money from the U.S. Department of Energy. A mix of funding from private businesses and other public agencies will help cover other costs.
In July, the WSDOT gave California-based AeroVironment a $1-million contract to outfit I-5 and U.S. 2 with a network of nine fast-charging stations by Nov. 30. That completion date has been pushed back to next year while the contractor continues work out lease agreements and nail down final locations.
The plan calls for electric charging stations to be placed every 40 to 60 miles along portions of I-5 between Canada and Oregon. The total distance is around 276 miles. Charging stations will also be installed on U.S. 2 along the Stevens Pass Greenway, linking the west coast to North Central Washington.
The project will be supplemented by the installation of more 50 fast-charging stations in the Pacific Northwest through the EV project.
Most importantly, the location and spacing of the charging stations enables electric vehicle drivers to travel long distances without worrying about running out of juice.
"The goal is to have everything up an running by early 2012," said Buell.
And now, we wait.
(In the meantime, check out this project map showing the planned electric highway route and location of proposed charging stations):

Electric Highway Map

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