Oregon is the next state that will distribute electric car charging stations to alleviate some of the crippling range concerns that pure electric cars face when trying to attract mainstream car buyers.
The chargers are designed to be “fast-chargers,” which use a 480-volt direct electrical current to charge an electric vehicle fully in around a half hour. NRG Energy recently began deploying fast chargers in Texas as part of its eVgo project between Houston and Dallas — a 250 mile stretch that most pure plug-in electric cars won’t be able to fully traverse without stopping to recharge.
Oregon’s new electric car chargers will appear on a 150-mile stretch of highway on Interstate 5 — further than the Nissan Leaf, one of the cheapest pure electric cars on the market, can travel.
Oregon chose AeroVironment as the distributor for electric car charging stations — although the company has not said how many charging stations it will deploy in the state. AeroVironment also worked with NRG Energy on the company’s eVgo project in Texas. It has deployed more than 2,000 240-volt charging stations across the country.
Electric vehicles have been criticized for their lack of range — for example, the Tesla Roadster is only supposed to reach up to 244 miles before running out of juice. The Nissan Leaf, a cheaper electric car at $32,780 before federal tax credits, can only travel around 100 miles before needing to recharge. So dotting long driving corridors with electric vehicle charging stations will alleviate some of the concerns about being able to travel longer distances.
Still, 30 minutes is very long time to wait when compared to the roughly 2 or 3 minutes it takes to fill up a gas tank for internal combustion engine vehicles. That includes General Motors’ Volt hybrid electric car — which has a fuel efficiency rating of around 93 miles per gallon of gasoline. Most of the concerns for electric car buyers center around how long it takes to charge the car and how far it is able to drive, according to a report by Accenture. It can take up to 5 hours for some vehicles to charge completely from an empty battery with typical slower electric car charging stations.