Smoke signals. (Grand Ronde, Or.) 19??-current, January 01, 2013, Page 7, Image 7

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    Smoke Signals 7
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ELECTRIC continued
from front page
with ODOT for greener highways.
Portland-area drivers can now
drive from the city, through wine
country and on to the coast with
the recent Newberg and Grand
Ronde charging stations. Further,
the charging station is a great
catalyst to increase foot traffic to
the C-store."
At the car charging blog carswith, blogger Patrick
Connor reported on Dec. 10 about
his first outing to Spirit Mountain
Casino in his Nissan Leaf, the most
popular electric car in Oregon.
"From my home in Beaverton, the
door-to-door round trip drive is 1 10
miles; far beyond the range of my
Leaf given the freeway speeds and
elevation changes. The Newberg
station (which also has an electric
charging station) breaks the one
way trip there up nicely into a 17
mile leg and a 38-mile leg. Each of
these legs are well within the car's
range. The charging station at the
casino means that the battery pack
will be filled long before we are done
playing and we'll be starting out the
return trip with a 'full tank'." -
The charging stations make the
Tribe among the first locations
in the country to take a stand for
greener highways.
Initially,-.electric carcharges at.-:
the convenience store will be free,
though in time, Monrovia, Calif. -based
AeroVironment, the prime
contractor supplying parts for, in
stalling, operating and maintaining
this and other charging stations in
Oregon and Washington, will begin
charging to both recoup investment
and make a profit. The Tribe also
will receive a portion of the charges
for providing the location.
Still, the state anticipates that
the owner of an electric car, paying
for each charge, will save $1,700 in
a year's time over a gas-powered
car that averages 22.6 mpg in 2008.
Electrics run for about three cents
a mile compared with the average
gas-powered car that runs for about
10 cents a mile, though many vari
ables affect the actual results.
Each electric charging station will
have a DC fast charger capable of
replenishing an exhausted battery
in 30 minutes and a medium speed
charger that takes from two to four
hours for a complete charge.
Currently, U.S. -made electric
vehicles, including the Chevy Volt,
require the longer charge, while
international models, including the
Nissan Leaf, charge up faster.
For Franklin and Emily Doss of
Salem, the move to electric vehicles
Km s-
Photo by Ron Karten
Emily Doss of Salem charges her Nissan Leaf at the Tribal convenience store
on Thursday, Dec. 20. Doss, a hostess-cashier at the casino, drives her electric
car daily to work and is becoming knowledgeable about where charging
stations are popping up in Oregon.
was a no-brainer.
"I have been traveling to the
casino going on nine years every
day from Salem," said Emily, a
hostesscashier at Spirit Mountain
The Dosses bought two Nissan
Leafs in mid-December and they
couldn't be more pleased with the
purchases or the charging stations
that make driving them possible- . .
At the convenience store charging
station on the evening of Thursday,
Dec. 20, Emily was busy making
phone calls in her Leaf as the fast
charge filled up her batteries.
"I'm here 25 minutes," she said,
"and I'm at 81 percent." She started
charging her car, which she drives to
the casino every day, at 42 percent.
She won't spend all her time at
the electric pump, though. "As soon
as the restaurant is open," she said,
"I'll be in there having espresso."
In conversation, she happily
reeled off car features. She can
listen to the car radio and have the
heat coming from both the seat and
the steering wheel, for example
while the car charges. She pointed
to the solar panels on the roof. She
opened the door to the large trunk
where she pointed to a small trickle
charger. Mostly for emergencies,
the trickle charger plugs into a nor
mal 110 outlet, though a full charge
takes quite a while that way.
She noted the convenience of hav
ing other charging stations in the
area, and both she and her husband
are discovering the convenience
available at different locations.
Emily knows, for example, that
"There's a charger at the Dairy
Queen in Monmouth," she said,
"and it's right by a Bi-Mart and
a Colonel Sanders. We probably
spend more money at small outfits
now than we ever did. It helps us
support small businesses.
"There's one in Woodburn at the
Elmer's (restaurant) there," she
continued, "and you have all the
outlet stores right there."
Her only caution: "I have to know to plan out my day."
Franklin's caution: "The heater
can gobble up 15 percent of the
energy on a trip."
Franklin once had intentions of
turning an old Porsche into an elec
tric car until he started adding up
the cost. Today, he says, the Leaf is
"one of the best designed machines
I've come across in a long while."
He pointed to the Leafs ability "to
recapture power with regenerative
breaking when going downhill. We
live up high in the South Hills, and
if our car has 50 potential miles on
it when I leave the driveway, by
time we get into town, we have 60
potential miles. Just backing off the
throttle pedal starts it recharging."
The future he sees includes induc
tion charging units at home, at fast
food restaurants, in parking lots,
you name it.
With aftermarket car additions
already available, electric cars will
be able to pass over an induction
mat at drive thrus, for example, or
in parking garages, and without
wires receive a charge.
"So, at fast food restaurants, it'll
be, 'Will you have a charge with
that?' " Franklin said. "And you'll
pick up 10 miles of charge time here
and five miles there, and it will all
be seamless."
Battery management is less a
wait than it might first appear,
Franklin said. "First of all, you
never hit the station when you're
on empty." Estimated charge times
assume that. With half a charge, he
says, it could take you 15 minutes
to finish up, or about the same as
a regular stop for gasoline.
The Grand Ronde station is
among 22 locations currently slated
for installation throughout rural
Oregon, with 10 others already
installed, according to Ashley Hor
vat, West Coast Electric Highway
Project Manager for the Oregon
Department of Transportation, who
is overseeing the state's effort to
jumpstart the industry.
Charging stations will be avail
able to electric car drivers every
25 to 30 miles in busier parts of
the state and as far as 50 miles
between stations in rural areas,
Horvat said.
The Electric Highway project in
Oregon is being built with three
grants totaling more than $4 mil
lion. AeroVironment subcontractor
Cascadia PM, based in Olympia,
Wash., works with ODOT in scout
ing locations for charging stations
in Oregon and Washington. Hills-boro-based
Quality Plus Services
Electrical is subcontractor for most
installations, including the one in
Grand Ronde.
With the support of past and cur
rent governors and Oregon's con
gressional delegation, the Oregon
Department of Transportation has
moved forward with infrastructure
that aims to encourage more car
buyers to go electric.
Oregon, with 1,300 electric cars,
is leading the nation in its buildout
of the Electric Highway.
The West Coast Electric Highway
promises a corridor by 2020 when
an estimated 2 million electric cars
will be able to travel without harm
ful emissions between Canada and
The public plan anticipates that
more private partners, like Aero
Vironment, will move in quickly.
Some will set up standalone charg
ing stations, others will build what
Horvat calls "opportunistic charg
es," where customers may be going
to a grocery store anyway and while
there they will plug in for a charge.
Fred Meyer is already one of these,
installing charging stations as new
stores go up and as current stores
are remodeled.
Even with gasoline engines, the
average driver travels less than
30 miles a trip, Horvat said, often
making charging unnecessary
while out for daily errands. B
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