Photo: Nissan Leaf. Photo courtesy of Nissan.


Through a public-private partnership, Portland, Ore., is now home to the nation's first public-use electric vehicle charging station.

Unveiled in early August, the Takasago Rapid Charging Station sits in the parking garage of the Portland World Trade Center -- where electric vehicles with lithium-ion batteries can be charged to 80 percent of full strength in only 20 to 30 minutes, according to a press release. Right now, there is no cost to use the quick-charge station, but because it's in a garage, vehicle owners must pay to park.

Aside from a publicity demonstration by Gov. Ted Kulongoski, who charged up an all-electric Nissan Leaf last week, the station hasn't seen much use, but that should change once vehicles equipped with lithium-ion batteries hit the market, said Portland General Electric (PGE) Spokeswoman Elaina Medina. Such vehicles include the Nissan Leaf and Mistubishi i-MiEV, which are expected to be available later this year.

The collaborative project involves Oregon's largest utility Portland General Electric; the city of Portland; and network, communications and IT company NEC. NEC covered the station's building and shipping costs, while PGE paid for installation, Medina said. PGE's alliance partners, Portland State University and the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium, will write a white paper on the station's acquisition, installation, certification and testing procedures to be released in September.


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Karen Wilkinson  |  Staff Writer