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Several New Electric Car Charging Stations Now In Portland-Area

The latest Portland-area public charging station for electric cars was unveiled in Lake Oswego Monday morning.  That station joins four others in the area. 

As Pete Springer reports, the ultimate goal of the stations is to promote the use of electric and electric-hybrid cars.

Plugin StationThe charging stations were installed by Portland General Electric and feature renewable power.

But it’s not just PGE officials who think they’re a good idea.

Judie Hammerstad is the mayor of Lake Oswego.

Judie Hammerstad: “There aren’t very many of them right now, but what we hope is that by having this charging system right here on A Avenue, in the center of our city, that we can encourage people to look at electric cars as an option for the future.”

Hammerstad says her city uses hybrids and flex cars in its fleet already, and she hopes to see some all-electric cars in the near future.

She says it’s a way for the city to publicly encourage sustainable practices.

For PGE, the new charging stations are as much about the present as they are about future technology.

Kregg Arnston “We are expecting electric vehicle car manufacturers to come out with new models in the next 24 months, and we really want to start getting some charging stations out on the street.  Have people get used to them.”

Kregg Arnston is a spokesman for PGE.

Kregg Arnston “Down the road we could envision a scenario where there would be a place for a debit card or some sort of payment card that would not only pay for a block of electricity, but possibly also the parking.”

Arnston also says if electric cars really catch on, the company could draw power from the car batteries during peak periods to help alleviate strain on the grid.   The cars would then resume charging when the peak period was over.

But that’s a ways off.  At present, there are around 500 electric plug in vehicles registered in Oregon.  A scenario where cars would provid  power to the grid would require about fifty thousand cars to be charging at once.  

In the near future, PGE is expecting the next level of hybrid plug-in vehicles to be a different mix of electric and gas engine technology.

Unlike current hybrids, those vehicles would rely heavily on charges from outside electrical sources, rather than solely on their gas engines. 

This would help electric hybrids of the future get about a hundred miles to the gallon.

In addition to the Lake Oswego charging station, PGE has plug-ins at OMSI, at two different locations in downtown Portland, and one in Salem.

An additional charging station is planned for Lake Oswego along with two others  in Oregon City and Beaverton.

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