Gov. Inslee leads the charge – launches first of six new electric vehicle fast-charging stations

A partnership that brought together the governor’s office, a public power utility, an electric vehicle (EV) charging company, a car museum and a regional EV organization led to a celebration: the first of six new EV fast-charging sites in Washington for travelers along the Interstate 5 corridor in Washington state.

With support from a Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) grant, private capital from EVgo, and other funding sources, two new EVgo DC fast chargers at LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma will support the infrastructure needs of Washington’s electric vehicle owners, and enable more Washington residents to make the switch to electric vehicles.

“We want to electrify every mode of transportation in the state and these new charging stations help us get closer to that goal,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “Currently, we have 33,000 EVs on the road and my Results Washington goal is to increase that number to 50,000 EVs by 2020. This project is a great example of what we can do when different groups collaborate.”

The new EV fast chargers at LeMay – America’s Car Museum are funded in part through Washington’s 2017-2019 Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Partnerships Program. The state funding is contributed by EV drivers through a portion of their annual $150 EV registration fee, which WSDOT leverages to encourage private sector investment in EV charging. The first round of funding includes $1 million from the state and $1.5 million in matching funds for a total of 15 new sites including the 6 along I-5 in Western Washington and 9 along highway corridors in Eastern Washington.

EV charging stations are becoming more visible every year, like this one in Centralia.    Photo: Morf Morford

EV charging stations are becoming more visible every year, like this one in Centralia. Photo: Morf Morford

“We are sharing our vision with the state and nation for a future of transportation that is affordable, energy independent, and emissions-free,” said Tonia Buell, WSDOT’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Lead. “This is also a vision, not just for transportation, but for public-private partnerships that create opportunities for local travelers and EV drivers throughout the region. As more and more charging locations are opening for the public, it’s getting easier and easier to drive electric.”

Oregon-based nonprofit Forth dedicates itself to advancing electric vehicles in the Pacific Northwest, and helped bring together key partners to secure the charging site in Tacoma.

“Forth is thrilled to be working to advance the West Coast Electric Highway with our new EVgo fast charging site. America’s Car Museum is a fantastic place to visit while charging your car and this project has been a great example of collaboration between Tacoma Power and the museum,” said Forth’s Deputy Director Zach Henkin. “With thousands more electric vehicles coming to Washington’s roads, the museum charging station will be an important place for people to plug in.”

Tacoma Power wants to see more electrification vehicles on the road for environmental reasons – lower carbon emissions and reliance on fuel that is clean and renewable.

“Reducing vehicle emissions is one of the best ways to minimize the impacts of climate change,” said Tacoma Public Utility Board Member Bryan Flint. “Tacoma Power can play a critical role in increasing the number of electric vehicles on the road by supporting easily accessible charging stations and continuing to supply low-cost, renewable, carbon-free hydroelectricity to power the vehicles. I am pleased the first of these fast charger sites will be in Tacoma, and I thank America’s Car Museum for making this ideal location available.”

“LeMay — America’s Car Museum is just as much about the history of the automobile as it is its future,” America’s Car Museum Education Manager Debbie Kray said. “We’re pleased to partner with Forth, EVgo, Tacoma Power and the city of Tacoma’s Sustainability Office to provide fast electric vehicle chargers at the museum while raising awareness of green energy vehicles through future educational programs and exhibits.”

“Washington state has been a great market for electric vehicles, and the support of Governor Inslee, WSDOT, Tacoma Power and others are part of why EVgo has already built 18 fast chargers in Washington and why we plan to keep investing in the state,” said Cathy Zoi, CEO of EVgo. “EVgo is the nation’s largest network of public fast chargers for electric vehicles, and today’s ribbon cutting of the two new EVgo fast chargers at the LeMay Museum will help more Washington residents make the switch to EVs and leave internal combustion vehicles behind in their rear view mirror.”

The fast-charger site will be open to the public and offer both CHAdeMO and CCS connectors, making it capable of fast charging cars like the Nissan LEAF, BMW i3, Chevy Bolt, Hyundai Ioniq, and Tesla Model S and Model X (with an adapter).  Fast chargers like the ones EVgo has installed at LeMay make EV ownership possible for Washington residents without home charging, in addition to enabling any fast-charge capable EV get around 80% of their charge in around 45 minutes.

– Tacoma Public Utilities