NPR logo More Taxpayer-Funded Electric Car Charging Stations Unveiled

More Taxpayer-Funded Electric Car Charging Stations Unveiled

More Taxpayer-Funded Electric Car Charging Stations Unveiled

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A project to build the biggest electric car charging network in the Northwest kicks into higher gear this week. The first public charging stations in that taxpayer-financed network will be unveiled at ceremonies outside Portland Tuesday and in Seattle later this week.

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ECOtality employees check an electric car charger freshly installed in front of Wilsonville's city hall. By Dan Knoll, City of Wilsonville. hide caption

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The federal economic stimulus package is paying for about 1,000 public charging stations in the central Puget Sound region and another 1,000 in western Oregon from Portland to Ashland.

These installs are happening months later than originally planned. EV Project Pacific Northwest manager Rich Feldman says the slow deployment is partly tied to the sluggish deliveries of plug-in cars.

Rich Feldman: "Vehicles are rolling out in a little bit slower fashion from Nissan, both with the events in Japan - the earthquake - as well as just generally how those vehicles are coming on board. So our expectation now is that it will be completed by the end of the year."

Initially, a recharge for an electric car will be free. In the long term, Feldman says the public charging network will cost money to use. Drivers will have to pay with a smart card or bill it to a cell phone.

Many early adopters of electric cars are getting car chargers installed at home for free - or close to free - through stimulus funds or generous tax breaks.

The first public charging points to be unveiled as part of the EV Project will be two stations in front of Wilsonville's City Hall near Portland and four slots in the stadium parking lot at Qwest Field in Seattle.

Twenty four additional public charging stations will be turned on later this week in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood. They are spread among eight buildings developed by billionaire Paul Allen's Vulcan Real Estate group.

The EV Project:

Electric Vehicle Charging Station map:

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