With many major automakers adding electric vehicles (EVs) to their lineup—over 540,000 sold in the U.S. alone—states are now looking to find ways to provide proper public resources for their energy-conscious consumers.
Washington State officials have already worked on building up the state’s EV charging station infrastructure. This effort is in conjunction with growing the West Coast Green Highway, the 1,350-mile stretch of I-5 from the Canadian to the Mexican border through Washington, Oregon, and California. It’s also part of a powerful charging network for drivers traveling the 276 miles of I-5 between Washington’s borders with Canada and Oregon.
Fifteen charging stations will be added along I-90 east of Snoqualmie Pass; along I-82, I-182, and Highway 295 to connect the Tri-Cities with I-90; and I-5 between Everett and Chehalis near Puget Sound. EV drivers will find charging stations in the Puget Sound region in Federal Way, Everett, Lacey, SeaTac, and Tacoma. Once finished, the project will ensure that EV drivers can find a public charging station every 30 to 50 miles along these major Washington roadways.
In order to add these new charging stations, Washington’s state legislature provided $1 million in seed funding as part of the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Pilot Program. These funds come from EV drivers’ annual $150 registration fee and will be matched by about $1.5 million in private spending to build the charging stations.
A pilot program has been launched by WSDOT that gives awardees funding to help build a network of DC fast chargers, which can charge EVs to about 80% in 20 to 30 minutes. The funds can be used for equipment purchases, installation, siting, maintenance, electrical upgrades, and operations.
“We need to make electric vehicles a viable option for Washington drivers and an important part of that means making it easy for drivers to charge and go,” said Washington Governor Jay Inslee. In 2015, Inslee signed legislation allowing utilities to more effectively play a role in building up Washington’s electric vehicle infrastructure. He has also set a goal to have 50,000 electric vehicles registered in the state by 2020.
The EV charging stations project is expected to be completed by June 2019.