Electric car charging station up


In Dairy Queen parking lot

by: SUSAN MATHENY - The new electric car charging station, located on the south side of the Dairy Queen parking lot, is part of a regionwide system. Madras became part of the West Coast Electric Highway with the recent installation of an AeroVironment electric vehicle charging station in the parking lot of the Madras Dairy Queen.

Dairy Queen owner Francis Millard, who drives a Prius hybrid, said, “They were contacting different businesses around town to see if they would let them put in a charging station.”

She agreed to the idea, but said, “I wasn’t real thrilled at first, because they wanted it up front near the road, but I said they would have to put it in back so it wouldn’t take up my parking spaces.”

A crew spent a week digging a trench to the back of the lot to hook up the electricity, and the work should be completed this month.

“The guy doing the work said he’s installed 77 stations, but had trouble here because the lot sits on hardpan and it’s hard to dig down far enough,” Millard said.

She said the EV station has two outlets, one for a rapid charge, which takes 30 minutes, and the other, which takes a couple of hours.

“People using it may come into the Dairy Queen, or walk around town while they wait,” she said, noting more people will be stopping in Madras as a result.

According to its website, the AeroVironment Co., out of Monrovia, Calif., has 12 charging stations in Washington and 34 in Oregon, with 10 more to be completed in 2014, including ones in Madras and Warm Springs.

The West Coast Electric Highway, which runs from Canada to California, is a network of electric vehicle DC fast charging stations located every 25 to 50 miles along major roadways.

Other charging station manufactures besides AeroVironment that are installing EV stations include Blink Network, ChargePoint, Opconnect, Semaconnect, Shorepower, and EV4.

The fast charge technology allows drivers to recharge all-electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i MiEV in 30 minutes or less, and also offers a level 2 (two-hour) charger for plug-in electric vehicles such as the Chevy Volt.

Drivers using the AeroVironment chargers are issued a key fob to activate the charging station, while other companies issue an RFID card to operate stations. The AeroVironment Co. offers unlimited monthly access to charging stations for $19.99 per month, or customers may pay per session at rates of $7.50 for a DC fast charger, or $4 for a level 2 charger.

To view a map of the West Coast Electric Highway, search “west coast electric highway map” on the Internet. To view a map of AeroVironment’s current and planned stations, and for more information, visit evsolutions.avinc.com and click on “EV network.”