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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Why EVs Are Perfect for Oregon - Reason 1: The 100 Mile Corridor


Along Interstate 5, it's just over 100 miles from Portland to Eugene. If you were to draw a 25 mile radius around this stretch of I-5, the resulting irregular obround shape would encompass the majority of the state's population. This area would include Portland and all of its suburbs from Hillsboro to Gresham and Vancouver WA to Tigard. It also captures all of the northern Oregon cities that line I-5, including Wilsonville, the capital (Salem), Albany, and, let's not forget the home of the Simpsons, Springfield, to name a few.

This population clustering is, in part due to urban planning to prevent sprawl and it means that most vehicle trips are within this region and are less than 100 miles. This is one reason that Oregonians drive less than the national average. Given the distances that EVs such as the Nissan Leaf can travel today on a single charge, population clustering means that most people in this region can do all of their day's driving on a single charge.

If you occasionally need a gas car, then Zipcar, Car2Go, and Getaround car sharing are all available in Portland. And cars are just part of Oregon's transportation services. Portland is bike friendly and has light rail and streetcars. There are passenger trains that travel from Portland to Corvallis and Seattle. Rather than driving these routes, you can relax in a dining car with Wi-Fi service and when you arrive just rent a car, use a car share program, or take a cab. Hertz, Enterprise and others now offers EVs in their regional fleets. Having more transportation options means there are alternatives for trips where an EV may not be practical.

This population clustering is also beneficial to the automakers. To launch a new vehicle program in Oregon, only a few dealers need to enabled. For a program such as a new EV that requires charging infrastructure, new diagnostic tools, and a lot of training, it can be a massive effort and expense to roll this out in a large market. The population geography of Oregon makes it a great test market.


Why EVs are great for Oregon :


  1. I really want to get a LEAF, but unfortunately I have family in TriCities and there are no chargers east of The Dalles yet.

  2. karen, there are several options. One, buy a plug-in hybrid rather than a 100% electric. Two, there are level 2 chargers Rufus, Pendleton, Baker City, and with the right equipment any RV park or dryer let can charge an EV. It will take longer, than a DC fast charger, but it works. Three, you can rent a car for the occasional long-distance trip. All the money that you save on gas will mean that your transportation budget will allow it and still save you money.