Washington State has announced a plan to construct miles of “quick charge” stations for electric cars. Part of a larger West Coast Green Highway, the state’s effort would contribute to a large scale 1,200 mile electric roadway that would go through Canada, Washington, Oregon, and California. The plan, which would vastly improve Washington State’s infrastructure for electric, is likely to attract the attention of environmental advocates and auto industry executives alike.
The idea is that building “quick charge” stations along highways will extend their otherwise limited range. With more charge charging stations, drivers in Washington State will be able to take their electric cars further and to a wider variety of places.
And by no means is Washington the only state to undertake efforts to improve electric car infrastructure. The federal government has launched widespread building initiatives alongside private companies. This move—known as the EV Project —is meant to build thousands of charging stations along hundreds of miles of highway in 7 states .
But it seems that electric car owners are not the only people who will benefit from improved charging infrastructure. The EV project seems ready to push American-made hybrid and electric cars to a wider market. For example, EV collects data about the condition of U.S. electric car infrastructure based on the performance of a fleet of a thousand American hybrid/electric cars. The project promotes electric in general, then, but also specifically American electric cars like the Chevy Volt and the Nissan LEAF.
Expect politicians, auto industry executives, and environmental advocates to monitor the success of these programs. Success or failure of this federal initiative is a likely source of political ammunition in a campaign set to center around the use of federal expenditures to stimulate the economy, a key component of the stimulus law signed by Barack Obama early in 2009.