The “West Coast Electric Highway” is an extensive network of electric vehicle (EV) DC fast charging stations located every 25 to 50 miles along Interstate 5, Hwy 99, and other major roadways in British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California. The initiative is a collection of projects, funding sources, and partners with the same vision—to provide a network of fast charging stations enabling electric vehicle drivers to make longer trips and travel between cities. The Washington State Department of Transportation leads the charge in Washington. The Oregon Department of Transportation heads up efforts in Oregon. A California Governor’s Office interagency group coordinates charging investment in California. Plug In BC, a collaborative among government and industry partners, is the information hub for British Columbia.
The west coast has a robust EV charging network with hundreds of DC fast chargers and thousands of Level 2 charging units.
Easy and Convenient Charging Locations
Electric vehicle drivers can now grab a cup of coffee or shop while charge up their vehicles at shopping centers, fueling stations and restaurants within a half mile of highway interchanges. The fast charge technology allows drivers to re-charge mass-produced all-electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf in under 30 minutes. Each location also includes Level 2 equipment to re-charge most plug in electric vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt. Most original charging sites have CHAdeMo equipment compatible with fast charging Japanese cars such as the Nissan Leaf and Kia Soul. Newer sites also include Combo Charging System (CCS) fast charging equipment compatible with American and European cars such as the BMW i3 and the Chevrolet Bolt.
Electric Highway Benefits
The Electric Highway gives electric vehicle drivers “range confidence” that recharging is available should they want to travel between communities or make long distance road trips. Knowing that charging is easy and convenient helps encourage residents and businesses to buy and drive plug-in electric vehicles. Increasing the market demand for electric vehicles helps reduce the transportation sector's impact upon the environment and dependency on foreign oil. By setting the stage for the EV industry to thrive in a clean economy, the Electric Highway helps spur industry growth and new jobs.
Finding a Charging Station
The U.S. Department of Energy has a comprehensive listing of all public charging stations:
Look for this symbol along the highway to find electric vehicle fast-charging stations. Learn more about EV signs.
You can also use your in-car navigation system such as carwings or a mobile app for your iPhone and Android to find charging stations:
Many charging station manufacturers have station locators:
Paying for Your Charge
You may need a key fob or RFID card to operate the charging stations and prices may vary depending on the equipment vendor. Some locations charge by the time connected to the station, others may charge a flat fee per use, and others will offer monthly subscription services for unlimited use. Most locations will have a toll free phone number posted on the equipment so you can call and get a guest charge with a credit card. For current pricing and subscription information, please contact the charging station vendors.