Transportation | Ecotrope

Oregon Senate Passes Bill Aiming To Boost Electric Car Use

Ecotrope | April 9, 2013 10:51 a.m. | Updated: April 9, 2013 12:01 p.m.

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Some lawmakers hope that adding public charging stations across the state will help convince people to buy electric cars and take them on longer road trips.

Some lawmakers hope that adding public charging stations across the state will help convince people to buy electric cars and take them on longer road trips.

Ecotality

The Oregon Senate voted 23-2 on a bill that would allow state agencies to expand Oregon’s network of publicly available electric car charging stations.

Senate Bill 536A would allow the state to contract with private vendors to install, maintain and provide electricity for publicly available charging stations.

Tom Powers, Senate majority communications director, said state agencies can contract with vendors to build and maintain charging stations for state vehicles right now, and the bill would extend that capability to public charging stations.

It would prevent the state from subsidizing electricity costs to public charging station customers, but it allows agencies to make their own charging stations available to the public or contract to build new charging stations that will be open to the public.

Powers said most electric vehicle drivers charge their cars at home, but lawmakers backing the bill want to support EV drivers on longer road trips by giving them more places to charge up along the way.

Expanding the state’s network of public charging stations is key to encouraging more people to drive electric cars and reaping the environmental benefits of fewer tailpipe emissions, said Sen. Jackie Dingfelder.

“Easy access to charging stations will promote use of electric vehicles, which leads to less air pollution, less reliance on foreign oil, and advancement towards our environmental goals,” she said in a news release on the bill, which now goes to the House of Representatives.

Oregon currently has more than 30 public electric car charging stations, and the Oregon Department of Transportation has proposed adding 11 more.

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