The Oregon Electric Highway Opens 0

The most visionary solution to high gas prices is to ditch gasoline-powered cars and make the leap to electric vehicles – we can do it, America!

No longer will you have to worry about the price of gas, because you’ll be “filling up” at much less than half the price.

The first eight electric vehicle charging stations are open for business on Oregon’s “Electric Highway,” along Interstate I-5.

Each station has DC fast-charger that fully charges a battery in less than 30 minutes. The charging stations, spaced about 25 miles apart over 150 miles – are just the beginnng – 40 more will be added in Oregon and Washington this year.

When it’s completed, the West Coast Electric Highway will make charging easy for EV drivers between San Diego to Vancouver, B.C.

Los Angeles-based AeroVironment EV (NASDAQ: AVAV) is creating the charging network, which EV drivers can subscribe to as easily as a cell phone plan.

The funding for the highway comes from the Recovery Act (oh, that terrible stimulus bill!) and got its start with $640,000 for phase one. The next $4 million phase is being funded by  Oregon and Washington and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

AeroVironment is also working with NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NRG) to build a charging infrastructure in the Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth regions.

And Hawaii selected AeroVironment to deploy about 320 charging stations across the state.

Competitor ECOtality is also deploying charging stations across the country with funding from the Recovery Act. Its focus is placing them in 18 cities and homes and places of business, such as Walgreens and Ikea.

As of May 2011, 1800 chargers are installed, on their way to 14,000 chargers.

On the East Coast, Massachusetts awarded funds for 100 chargers, and the Northeast Electric Vehicle network is setting up infrastructure in 11 states, planning for 200,000 EVs.

Putting the two together – along highways and on sites – is a first big step toward electrifying our transportation system.

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