The Nation’s First Electric Highway

With a wave of electric cars about to hit this country, a lot of people are asking how we plan to charge them when we’re away from home.

Electric-Highway-2With a wave of electric cars about to hit this country, a lot of people are asking how we plan to charge them when we’re away from home. Washington state may have the answer.

Gov. Chris Gregoire announced last week her state’s plans for the country’s first electric highway. Right now, the only thing more common along the highway than a gas station is fast food joints.

But as you can see on this map from the group EV Charger Map, there aren’t many electric car charging stations around, and most of the ones that do exist are in California.

The state of Washington wants to change all of that. It’s part of the EV Project, a $230 million federal study into the needs and driving habits of electric car drivers. Nearly 15,000 charge stations will be introduced in four states — Washington, California, Arizona and Tennessee — and the District of Columbia.

Gregoire’s announcement was about Interstate 5, a 1,300-mile highway that stretches from the Mexican border in California to the Canadian border in Washington.

And it’s just in time too, as electric cars are about to go mainstream. The Chevy Volt is being put through the final rounds of testing before it is expected to go on the market this November, and Nissan Leaf was recently announced.

Stations on the electric highway won’t be more than 80 miles apart, but the Volt is only supposed to get 40 miles before it switches to its gas-powered engine. The Nissan Leaf is supposed to get 100 miles with electricity, but its not as far down the pipeline as the Volt is.

The project still has quite a few important details to sort through, like, um, where exactly the stations will go, how much electricity will cost, and what the source of this electric energy will be. You know, just minor details.

But hey, it’s a start.

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Source: Discovery News
Photo:iStockphoto | Discovery News