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Oregon Officials Propose More Electric Cars On Road

By Bryan Navarro

April 20, 2011

MEDFORD, Ore. — As Earth Day approaches, Southern Oregon is going greener on the roads. State officials are in the region with a look at the future of plug-in cars in the state.

Though a drain on wallets, traditional gas stations probably won’t become extinct anytime soon; however, officials hope people trend away from pumps like these and “plug-in” to electric vehicles.

They say there are only about 400 electric vehicles, or “E.V.’s”, in the state, and only 75 or so that can reach highway speeds. They say a majority of EV charging stations are in the Willamette Valley, but they are making their way to the southern part of the state.

There are about 50 fast-charge stations planned from Eugene to Ashland. About half of those are planned for the I-5 corridor, with others scheduled for areas off the freeway.

Officials say it’s tricky to try match infrastructure construction with EV needs. Department of Energy officials say it will take one or two years before all those fast-charging stations are in place.¬†They also say it will take a long time to build up demand, as much as two decades, before there are significant number of EV drivers on the roads.