Today was a momentous day in many respects. ECOtality sponsored a ceremony at the Hollywood Fred Meyer in Northeast Portland which is now hosting the first DC fast charging unit installed as part of the EV Project, nationally. No other state received this distinction. Considering the scale of the EV Project and the fact that it is rolling out a large number of level two units across the country, this was indeed a historic event.
Among those in attendance were Governor John Kitzhaber, Sen. Jeff Merkeley, Multnomah County Commissioner Chair Jeff Cogen, Fred Meyer’s President Michael Ellis and ECOtality’s President Don Karner. Pacific Power’s Pat Egan also spoke about the importance of teamwork in getting these units installed within all utility’s service territories. I got the chance to thank ECOtality’s president for his efforts in helping make Oregon a central figure in the national movement toward vehicle electrification. We are indebted to private and public figures who see that the future of transportation lies in electrifying vehicles.
The DC fast charger (Level 3) enables EVs to charge to close to full capacity within the time it takes to fill a normal gas tank; they have been likened to a attaching a firehose of electrons to your car. These are beefy 440 v (125 amp) chargers using the Chademo charging connection imported from Japan and invented by TEPCO. The unit has a large flat screen which will be used for advertising and providing information to consumers while charging. The number of Nissan LEAFs on hand was also impressive (I counted twenty) and I witnessed one of the first to plug in at the unit.
Sen Jeff Merkeley is to be congratulated particularly for his national leadership, along with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) in promoting vehicle electrification. Oregon ships out $6 billion every year to fossil fuel companies, much of it going offshore. If we can capture even half of that, we will be keeping money in the local economy and making Oregon a better place to live.
Governor Kitzhaber and Sen. Merkeley were also kind enough to speak of Drive Oregon and reference that forty companies in Oregon are currently operating in the EV space. Drive Oregon is one of the first non-profits, nationally, to be empowered with the mission of promoting a state-based EV industry . We plan on promoting economic growth, job creation, and commercialization of new EV-related technologies as our long-term strategy.
The sun shone brightly at Freddie’s throughout the ceremony making us all wince involuntarily. Perhaps a sign that DC fast chargers are a ray of hope in an otherwise cloudy world of combustion.