Oregon unveils its electrified highway

Signs alerting drivers about the availability of electric vehicle chargers will start to spring up along the I-5 corridor.

Signs alerting drivers about the availability of electric vehicle chargers will start to spring up along the I-5 corridor.

It’s official: Oregon has the longest stretch of electrified road in the United States. And no, this isn’t an Eddy Grant song.

Instead, it’s part of the Electric Highway project. As of Friday morning, the first eight links are operating in what will ultimately be a three-state chain of electric vehicle charging stations along I-5.

The stations were unveiled Friday in ceremonies by the Oregon Department of Transportation and project partner AeroVironment EV (NASDAQ: AVAV).

Spaced at roughly 25 miles apart along the southern Oregon I-5 corridor, charging stations were fired up in Cottage Grove, Rice Hill, Roseburg, Canyonville, Wolf Creek, Grants Pass, Central Point and Ashland. Each location has two charging stations, including one AC unit, and another DC fast charger that can juice up a battery in under 30 minutes.

In long-term plans, more than 40 additional charging stations are expected to be deployed in Oregon and Washington by AeroVironment the end of the year.

A caravan of fanfare is expected to draw EV enthusiasts from around the state Friday, with EV enthusiasts casting off range anxiety and shuttling from podium to podium with revelry planned through much of the early afternoon.

ODOT and AeroVironment are to be joined by auto manufacturers from Nissan, Chevy and Mitsubishi and representatives from local dealerships. Also planning to attend are representatives of Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Central Point Mayor Hank Williams, Grants Pass Mayor Mike Murphy, Rick Wallace and Frank Reading of the Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon Assistant Division Administrator of Federal Highways Emily Lawton.

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