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Oregon to install electric-vehicle chargers along I-5

AeroVironment to supply Level 3 DC fast-charging stations along a 150-mile stretch of Interstate 5, from the California border and up to the Willamette Valley.

AeroVironment's DC fast-charging station. AeroVironment

Oregon is planning to install Level 3 DC fast-charging stations along a portion of Interstate 5, the Oregon Department of Transportation announced today.

AeroVironment was chosen to be the supplier for the electric-vehicle charging stations which will be sprinkled throughout a 150-mile stretch of highway.

Interstate 5 is the main interstate highway that runs north and south through the western U.S. The electric-vehicle charging stations will be placed starting at the California-Oregon state line and up to Oregon's Willamette Valley.

The 480-volt Level 3 chargers are CHAdeMO (Charge de Move) compliant, a standard that is compatible with the Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, and Subaru R1e. It's capable of fully charging an electric-vehicle battery in about 30 minutes, according to AeroVironment.

The exact locations for the stations have not yet been chosen.

AeroVironment has also been tasked with researching the best spots in conjunction with local utilities, based on an analysis of things like area traffic patterns and vehicle range. The stations should be in place and available to drivers by the end of this fall, according to the company.

"Fast charging stations along high-traffic transportation corridors will help make driving electric vehicles between communities a viable option for Oregonians," Oregon Department of Transportation Director Art James said in a statement.

The electric-vehicle chargers are part of Oregon's "Green Highway" project, which was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

AeroVironment is best known for its drones, but is also a heavy player in the vehicle-charging industry. The company has already partnered its charging stations with NRG Energy for its eVgo Network (pronounced ee-vee-go), Nissan for its U.S. Leaf roll-out, and BMW for its ActiveE project. The company has manufactured charging stations for light-duty electric-vehicle fleets for years, and also collaborated with General Motors in the 1980s on the EV1 project.