Getting more electric and other alternative-fuel vehicles on the road is not all about the cars. It's also about the road. And cities, states, developers, utilities and builders all across the country are working to make it easier for drivers to get from here to there without worrying about running out of power.
Oregon recently rolled out its "electrified highway," a 200-mile long stretch of I-5 with charging stations every 25 miles, the beginning of what is planned to be a three-state chain along that interstate. Each location has two charging stations, including one AC unit, and another DC fast charger that can juice up a battery in under 30 minutes. More than 40 additional charging stations are expected to be installed in Oregon and Washington by the end of the year.
And in Illinois at the end of March, the governor and transportation officials celebrated the launch of a network of electric car charging stations that are being installed across the interstate system.
So far, fast-charging machines have been put in place at four stations, with another three to come, part of a larger program to set up 280 charging stations across Chicago and the suburbs. Once fully built, officials say it will be one of the largest electric car charging systems in the nation.
In a story in the Chicago Tribune, Gov. Pat Quinn said it was important to offer drivers a choice instead of relying on gasoline that is growing more and more expensive. "All across Illinois, people are having to deal with high gas prices for their vehicles and we want to make sure people have choices in Illinois," Quinn said.
So what about Michigan, home of the U.S. auto industry and linchpin of the electric vehicle industry? No big news yet to report at Built by Michigan, but we know there are a number of initiatives underway. Until then, stay tuned.