Portland First With Quick-Charge EV Station

Tucked away in the underground parking garage at Portland's Two World Trade Center is what is purported to the nation's first quick-charging EV (electric vehicle) station, able to take a Nissan LEAF from zero to an eighty percent charge in just 20 to 30 minutes. The new station is part of an ambitious Portland plan to put up 2,000 charging stations by 2013. Now all we need is the cars.


Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski (he's ordered the LEAF) at the launch. Photo PGE.

The station, paid for by Portland General Electric, and supplied with energy that is certified as offset with renewables, is said to be free to the public, though you have to pay to get into the parking garage to park while your car is charging ($3.00).

The charging station itself is made by Takasago, and is a Japanese standard charging station. That means it can charge the LEAF and the Mitsubishi i-Miev, not GM EVs, which means that most of the existing electric vehicles in Portland won't be able to use the station. So it is unlikely to get much use, at least until the LEAF is unveiled near the end of the year.

On the good news side, Nissan and the EnzymePDX digital mag say 17,000 customers have already signed up for their EVs, most of them in Oregon, Washington, California, Tennessee, and Arizona.The approximately 30-minute charge should last the LEAF and other vehicles like it for about 100 miles of driving.

There is another electric charging station on Salmon Street outside Two World Trade Center where other EVs can juice up, and that one is completely free (though street parking rules apply).

Vacaville, California, already has a quick-charging station that hasn't yet received state approval or opened to the public. But California isn't planning to let Oregon get too far ahead. Today the state plans to announce upgrades to its EV charging infrastructure to accomodate the coming generation of EVs.

The Takasago Rapid Charging Station is said to use the CHAdeMO charging standard, which has been developed in Japan to provide fast charging for EVs, according to the allcarselectric blog. CHAdeMO is a an abbreviation of "Charge de Move" but it's also a pun for a Japanese saying that means "How about a cup of tea?"

In Portland, coffee would likely be the preferred beverage, but that's not included in the price of admission to the parking garage.

Read about EV charging technology at TreeHugger:
iPhone Apps Aid Electric Vehicle Charging
What's the Electric Vehicle Charging Market Worth in 12 Years?
28 States to Get Smartlet Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
Read more about the LEAF EVr:
Lance Armstrong First in Line for Nissan LEAF
LEAF Pre-Orders Exceed Production Capacity Months Before Launch