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America's first public-use quick-charge station for electric vehicles opens


August 12, 2010

Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski plugs in the all-electric Nissan LEAF to the nation's first publicly available quick-charge station at Portland General Electric headquarters in Portland, Oregon. (Photo: Business Wire)

Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski plugs in the all-electric Nissan LEAF to the nation's first publicly available quick-charge station at Portland General Electric headquarters in Portland, Oregon. (Photo: Business Wire)

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Portland General Electric and NEC have joined forces to declare North America's first public-use, quick-charge station for electric vehicles open for business. Heralded as a tipping point for the roll-out of electric vehicles in the U.S., the Takasago Rapid Charging Station is said to provide batteries with up to 80 per cent full strength in 20 to 30 minutes. Company officials and Governor Ted Kulongoski took the opportunity to power up a visiting Nissan LEAF before it left for a two-day tour of the area.

The Rapid Charging Station installed in the parking garage of the World Trade Center at 121 SW Salmon St in Portland, Oregon is manufactured by NEC subsidiary Takasago Ltd and has now been awarded public use certification. This means that for the first time in the U.S., electric vehicle owners can head to a publicly available quick-charge station for a 20 to 30 minutes lithium-ion battery boost which will bring battery strength up to 80 per cent capacity.

Governor Kulongoski joined officials from Portland General Electric and NEC to open the Takasago Rapid Charging Station, also taking the opportunity to charge up a Nissan LEAF which was being test-driven in Oregon for the first time. The Governor said: "Quick-charging stations are an exciting advancement in our effort to bring electric vehicles to Oregon. By making charging convenient and available for public use, we are telling car manufacturers that Oregon is ready for the next generation of electric vehicles - and we want our state to be a leader in introducing these cars to the rest of the country."

Portland General Electric's president and CEO Jim Piro added: "With the addition of the Takasago Rapid Charging Station to the growing network of EV charging stations in Oregon, we are able to further our research on how this new technology will interact with our electrical system and support our EV-driving customers."

The new charging station provides power output of 50kw (50-500V, 0-125A), supports power input of AC200V±30V and complies with the CHAdeMO standard.

Portland General Electric already has a number of level one charging stations in the area, which are 110-volt systems and take between eight and 12 hours for a complete charge. Most of these will likely be upgraded to level two in the future and provide drivers with four to eight hour overnight charging on a 220-volt system. Installing quick-chargers in parking areas, rest stops and restaurants will make the technology even more convenient and is seen as something of a game changer for electric vehicle drivers.

The following video from Portland General Electric shows highlights of the official opening:

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While the Leaf is an excellent EV that pays for itself in 8-10 yrs in gasoline savings, it\'s really too heavy thus needing a big battery pack.

Just by reducing EV weight by 50% by using a medium tech composite body/chassis, one needs a 50% smaller battery pack, making EV\'s much more cost effective. Then even a level 2 charge station which is just a 240vac outlet, can be a fast charge.

The other solution is putting a trailer hitch on the Leaf, other EV\'s and put a range extending generator on it for unlimited range at about 100mpg. These can be owned or rented and slipped on in a minute. Lotus makes a 35kw, rather oversize as a 10kw is all a Leaf needs, but it only weighs 120lbs. But a 10kw one weighing 50lbs or so solves most of any preceived EV range problem.

But since EV\'s are 3-9x\'s as eff as a similar ICE is, they are the future.


Given the huge amount of power involved here, I wonder if a better solution would be to have standard batteries in all cars and just swap them at the station which could be charging them at more leisurely rates. Most people aren\'t going to want to hang around for 20 minutes for a charge. We have a similar thing here with propane gas bottles, you just bring in your empty one and they give you a full one.


Its a 2 day tour but 3/4th of the time will be spent going home to charge the battery

Michael Mantion

Bitchin! Yes I live in an Orygun suburb of Portland, How appropriate that Orygun is the FIRST. 99% of my drive cycles could be done in an electric vehicle with a range of 30 to forty miles

Bill Bennett

Ya I used to live in Portland and had to leave because there traffic would make my head explode! I too think that maybe this might be an appropriate use for an electric car! They could stand to remove a TON of traffic lights, and/or set up \"green waves\" so that things would flow better there! :-)


I don\'t suppose oregon burns coal to generate electricity for their \"green\" cars . . .

Ronny Detroit

Why can\'t you have an electric car with 2 batteries? One charges up with a dynamo while the other discharges, running the car. Maybe not 100% efficient but worth a gold star perhaps? :)


Ronny Detroit: Oregon is one of the few States that get\'s almost all it\'s electricity from hydroelectric. But there grid is old pretty much like every one else\'s! :-)

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