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EV Infrastructure Plans Underway for Seattle

December 15, 2009

SEATTLE --- The Seattle area will see the addition of 2,500 electric vehicle charging stations over the next couple of years, as part of a partnership between Nissan North America and Electric Transportation Engineering Corp., the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce reported. 

Representatives from the two companies held a press conference at Qwest Field on Dec. 9 to discuss the partnership and display the Nissan Leaf all-electric car. The Leaf can travel up to 100 miles on a single charge. 

Electric Transportation Engineering Corp., also known as eTec, is a subsidiary of ECOtality Inc. In August of 2009, eTec was awarded nearly $100 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to facilitate the EV Project, the largest rollout of electric vehicle infrastructure in the U.S. The grant money will be used to build charging stations in five areas: Tennessee, Oregon, San Diego, Seattle and Phoenix/Tucson. Project participants in each region will be expected to provide matching funds. 

Mark Perry, director of product planning and advanced technology strategy at Nissan, said station installation in the Seattle area is expected to begin next summer. All the charging stations should be completed in Seattle by the fall of 2011. 

Charging stations will be installed first in residential areas, said Rich Feldman, eTec's Pacific Northwest regional manager for planning and business development. Buyers of the Nissan Leaf EV will receive a free 220-volt charging station for their home. 

After homes get stations, the next phase is to install them in commercial and retail areas.

According to the King County Department of Transportation, 70 percent of the charging stations will be in homes, 20 percent will be in commercial areas such as malls or business locations, and 10 percent will be publicly available. 

King County has developed a draft proposal for placement of the stations. The tentative list includes King Street Center, Starbucks Corporate Office, Northgate Transit Center, Children's Hospital and Zymogenetics, the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce reported.

Businesses interested in having a charging station installed at their location can sponsor a station or become involved in the project. 

Most stations will take eight hours to fully charge an EV, but eTec also plans to install 40 fast chargers in the Seattle area that will be capable of charging a car in 15 minutes, though it won't be a full charge. 

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