Usage Continues Rise At DC Fast Chargers Along West Coast Electric Highway


West Coast Electric Highway charging station

West Coast Electric Highway charging station

The West Coast Electric Highway in Washington and Oregon from the early beginning of the CHAdeMO charger rollout was an excellent example of a successful project that enables electric car owners to drive along the I-5 (chargers located every 25 to 50 miles) and other major roads in the area.

There are 43 DC fast charging stations in Oregon and 14 in Washington according to the Register-Guard, which is relatively high compared to other states.

Ashley Horvat, the state’s electric vehicle officer, statedd:

“Oregon holds the title of having the most direct-current chargers per capita than any other state.”

U.S. Energy Information Agency notes:

“Washington and Oregon now have about 5% and 4%, respectively, of the nation’s total public charging stations, despite having only about 2% and 1% of the nation’s total light-duty vehicles. From March 2012 through April 2014, PEV drivers recharged 17,917 times in Washington and 18,522 times in Oregon, mostly using fast chargers. Total kilowatthours consumed were also similar: 154,881 in Washington and 153,256 in Oregon.”

The infrastructure, installed a few years ago, seems to become more and more useful as the years pass by:

“Usage of the quick-charging units on the West Coast Electric Highway in Oregon has steadily climbed since 2012, when the first devices were installed, according to figures provided by Horvat.”

“Monthly records were set between last July and November. The units were used a total of more than 1,400 times in that period, the figures showed.”

More than 1,400 charges in Oregon for 43 stations over that time period is quite a lot. Next year, this number should go up. Interesting is that, on average, just 8 kWh of juice is needed for each recharge.

More information on the West Coast Electric Highway is available here.

West Coast Electric Highway charging station

West Coast Electric Highway charging station

Source: The Register-Guard, U.S. Energy Information Agency

Category: Charging

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23 responses to "Usage Continues Rise At DC Fast Chargers Along West Coast Electric Highway"
  1. kdawg says:

    How much is it to charge?

    1. Brian Henderson says:

      $20/month for unlimited used (all locations in OR & WA)
      or, $7.50/session

      Reliability of WCEH DCFC are among the highest of any network.

      Some locations in I-5 corridor (mostly WA, near urban centers) have queues during periods of higher traffic/travel. This is partly due to number of BEVs more than doubling in last 18 months while number of DCFC has remain static (in WA). Two years ago Oregon & Washington had similar numbers of DCFC, but Oregon has continued to expand at a slow but steady pace. Oregon now has the best DCFC geographic coverage in US.

      1. Dave86 says:

        Brian –

        Nice information, thanks for posting.

        As someone who as lived in the PNW all my life and is looking forward to the new GM Bolt, it’s nice to know what options are available.


        1. Jesse Gurr says:

          Too bad the Bolt won’t work with Chademo though.

          1. Roy_H says:

            The main difference between the Chademo and SAE L3 is the communications, not the power delivery. Chademo has 8 small (delicate) pins for communication while the SAE has only 2 larger more robust pins. SAE is also a smaller connector overall. They will either add SAE L3 chargers or modify the existing ones to have 2 cables to select either Chademo or SAE.

  2. Just_chris says:

    Great to see people using these stations, looks like the technology is starting to mature a little. Let’s hope next year is another record.

  3. mustang_sallad says:

    I wonder if they have any plans to revisit these sites and install additional stations, adding CCS and even additional Chademo to reduce any lineups.

  4. JakeY says:

    The California part of this corridor sorely needs to get started. We are a leader in other regards, so it’s embarrassing to see us so far behind Washington and Oregon. However, sadly there seems to be no plans yet to build the CA part (esp. the SF to LA route on I-5). We are overly focused on local DC fast chargers and not ones that enable long distance travel (Tesla’s private network excepted).

    It may not seem to matter very much given the current short range EVs by the non-Tesla makes, but if the manufacturers are to be believed. we should have a bunch of longer range EVs out within the next 2-3 years.

    1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      If the manufacturers are to be believed, then those cars would be able to charge faster and building chargers now and guessing at the speed would be a waste of money.

      1. JakeY says:

        None of them have indicated faster charging speed than the 100kW that we already have today with CHAdeMO and the Combo connector. So they can go ahead an install one of those and the network will be set.

        If the network is still not installed before the cars launch, the only long distance option will still only be Tesla.

        1. liberty says:

          Has Chademo finalized a 100 kw standard. If so it would be great if CA, GM, Nissan, and Telsa all chipped in to get try plug charging stations up on I5 and 101.

      2. Lensman says:

        But if we wait until the fastest possible charging car is available, then we’ll never build another charging station.

        The way to push forward the EV revolution isn’t to wait until the next generation of EVs, or the 2nd or 3rd generation from now, before we decide what chargers to build now. The way to push forward the rEVolution is to build more chargers -now-; chargers designed with the capacity to upgrade later.

        1. BraveLilToaster says:

          While I fully agree that EV buyers need to be supported, I would like to point out a particularly important sticking point with your argument.

          The fact is, that the country with the largest market share for EVs is Norway, while the country with the most dense DCQC network isn’t Norway but Japan. There are literally hundreds in that tiny country, ensuring that there’s no place you *can’t* go with a Leaf, yet the market share of new EVs sold in Japan is considerably less than 1% while in Norway, the top selling cars *overall* are EVs.

          I believe that the real reason EVs aren’t taking off like they could has little to nothing to do with how well supported the user base is, and everything to do with the initial sticker price. Level the playing field such that a Leaf is the same price as any other hatchback, and presto, everyone wants one in no small part because the operating costs are next to nothing. You don’t even have to justify it with a spreadsheet and long term planning, it’s something that any dunderhead could understand. Nevermind other benefits of driving an EV over its other hatchback competition (which are typically in the economy car category).

      3. Just_Chris says:

        Build today at 50kW (or even 25kW) build tomorrow at 100kW (or what ever the next standard is), its not like the older 50kW stations won’t get used. If there is a line for the 100kW I’d rather plug in the 50kW and charge longer, than wait then charge quicker. Charging speeds are unlikely to go up that dramatically the standards are unlikely to change.

    2. Dave R says:

      101 between SF and LA would be much better suited for today’s EVs than I5.

      1. Mike I says:

        Agreed. However, nobody is motivated to make it happen. Even Nissan has no interest.

    3. Dave86 says:

      California is behind Oregon and Washington?

      But wait! I have good news:

      California will soon be way ahead or Oregon and Washington with hydrogen refueling stations!

      (Sorry for the sarcasm… its been one of those days for me… I’m really pro-EV & anti-H2)

      1. Omar Sultan says:

        Woohoo! Our tax dollars at work!

    4. Mike I says:

      There are approved grants from the CEC to build out I-5 and CA-99 from Sacramento to the LA Basin. However, I haven’t heard if the grants have received final approval and funding. However, I don’t think there are any plans in the works to connect to Oregon on I-5 north of Sacramento. It’s really a shame.

  5. Scott Franco says:

    It should be called the “Northwest Coast Electric Highway”, since the black hole that is California need not be included.

  6. Oceanrailroader says:

    I have big news for EV lovers in Virginia.

    Between Fredircksburg VA and Washington DC Virginia two new DC fast chargers opened up today. The first new DC fast charger is a EVgo Unit in Woodbridge Virginia. The next unit is at a Rosner VA Nissan Dealer.

    These two new DC chargers now make it possible to drive between Baltimore Maryland and Fredircksburg VA on DC fast chargers in a low range Mitsubishi i-miev.

    1. Ziv says:

      I always kind of wondered why EVGo put a CHAdeMO charger at the Walgreens in Clarendon/Arlington. I have never seen it used and it would seem that to start with, CHAdeMO would be better deployed near interstates.

      Still wishing for Santa Claus to bring me a 6.6 kW charge rate for my Volt…

  7. I’m very proud to have been the first to drive the length of the West Coast Electric Highway, from Mexico to Canada, just a few weeks after opening officially.

    June 12-20, 2012

    BC2BC (Baja California to British Columbia)