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Electric Avenue experiment may continue

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHRIS ONSTOTT - Eelectric vehicles could contnue charging at PSU until February 15.The City Council is poised to extend Electric Avenue at Portland State University until February 2015.

Electric Avenue is a line of electric vehicle charging stations on a one-block stretch of Southwest Montgomery Street between 6th Avenue and Broadway on the PSU campus. The council approved a 30-month permit to create it in August 2011. University officials have requested the permit be extended another 14 months, after which the charging station will need to be removed because of a planned renovation of the adjacent School of Business.

Electric Avenue was designed as a research and public demonstration facility for electric vehicles, including both all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. Project partners include PGE, the Portland Bureau of Transportation, and private companies that have donated the charging stations.

University officials consider the project a success. It has generated information on how electric vehicle owners use public charging stations, and has drawn delegations from other states and such foreign countries as Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand.

Electric Avenue also helped entice several manufacturers to launch new electric vehicles in Portland, including the Chevy Spark EV and Mitsubishi i-Miev. Several other companies have used it to test their vehicles, including Ford, Nissan, Toyota and Car2Go.

"Electric Avenue has provided an important service to early adopters of electric vehicles, an opportunity for project partners to explore issues related to charging infrastructure in the public right of way, and a showcase for newly developed products," reads on Oct. 17 letter to the city from PSU.

University officials are studying alternative sites to relocate the charging stations or acquire new ones and continue the project.

A PSU report and more information about Electric Avenue can be found at www.pdx.edu/electricavenue