Oregon, home to the nation’s first border-to-border electric highway, continues its emergence as the ultimate travel destination for electric vehicle drivers. On Feb. 28, the Forest Service, the Oregon Department of Transportation and their partners unveiled America’s first EV fast-charger installed on U.S. Forest Service land and at a ski resort. By using the growing West Coast Electric Highway fast-charger network, EV drivers can now travel up Mt. Hood’s rugged slopes, looming large at 11,250 feet and located just over an hour from Portland.
The charging station, which is located at Mt. Hood Skibowl West, completes Oregon’s Mt. Hood-Columbia River Gorge Electric Byway. Partners in this accomplishment include Travel Oregon, the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, U.S. Forest Service, AeroVironment, Portland General Electric and the Office of the Governor.
“The opening of the Mt. Hood fast-charger marks a major milestone in Oregon’s efforts to support electric vehicle travel across the state, including to wild and scenic places and recreation destinations,” said Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber. “This not only helps minimize our environmental impact, it also creates an economic boost for small businesses located along Oregon Electric Byways.”
Oregon’s Chief EV Officer Ashley Horvat said Oregonians aren’t content to relegate EVs to city driving. “We see the potential to use EVs for long distance travel, helping us preserve Oregon’s landscapes for future generations to travel Oregon forever,” she said. One of the keys to success in supporting and growing EV adoption is reducing range anxiety, or concern about how far an EV can go before it needs re-charging.
“Nissan applauds the state of Oregon’s effort to increase range confidence for EV drivers through the rapid deployment of fast charging,” said Brendan Jones, Nissan’s director of EV Infrastructure Strategy. “Oregon is already one of the strongest Nissan LEAF markets, and robust public infrastructure plays a key role in increasing public consideration for EVs and the number of gas-free miles LEAF owners drive.”
With EV adoption on the rise, EV-ready recreation areas are crucial to expanding the range.
“It’s a natural fit to support infrastructure that promotes clean energy near forest recreation sites,” said U.S. Forest Service Zig Zag District Ranger Bill Westbrook.