The West Coast Electric Highway is nearly 10 years old, and it's getting new charging hardware

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The West Coast Electric Highway—a network of charging stations spanning three states—is now almost 10 years old, and at least some of it is getting an upgrade.

Charging-network operator EV Charging Solutions (EVCS) plans to upgrade Oregon\’s 44 charging stations along the route with new hardware, and add three more, with funding from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), the company announced Wednesday in a press release.

Of the 47 upgraded or new stations, 11 will be designated \”super stations,\” each with one 150-kw fast charger and two 50-kw fast chargers, plus one 7.7-kw Level 2 AC port, EVCS clarified to Green Car Reports. The remainder of the 36 stations will get new hardware but remain at 50 kw, with an L2 charger also at each. That adds up to more than 100 upgraded or newly-added charging ports.

Upgrades will include replacing CHAdeMO-only DC fast-charging stations with ones that can accommodate both CHAdeMO and the Combined Charging Standard (CCS). A CHAdeMO adapter for Tesla drivers will also be included at each site, according to EVCS. The company also plans to replace existing Level 2 AC charging stations with new hardware, and add a 110-volt outlet for e-bikes and e-scooters.

Nissan Leaf at West Coast Electric Highway charging station (Photo by Pine Mountain Sports)

By the time the rehab starts in Oct 2021 it will be nearly 10 years since ground was broken for the first station of the West Coast Electric Highway (also called the West Coast Green Highway), and planning for the project started in 2009, with the original intent to space stations 25 to 50 miles apart.

In 2012, Oregon joined California and Washington to form a comprehensive ribbon of DC fast chargers up the West Coast. The organizations involved in the project reported that early on these stations set usage records. But now those original charging stations, all 50-kilowatt or less, are largely overshadowed by Electrify America, the Tesla Supercharger network, and others.

However, utilities and other stakeholders are still looking to the original West Coast Electric Highway for inspiration in establishing a similar network of charging stations for commercial trucks.

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