Apr 07, 2011

With its major cities clustered along 100 miles of the Willamette Valley, Oregon offers a fertile ground for electric vehicles and their limited range, George Beard of Portland State University said at a recent presentation. But Oregon’s readiness for electric vehicles doesn’t itself put one electric car on the road.

 

Beard, with Portland State’s Research & Strategic Partnerships, opened the Center for Transportation Studies’ spring Transportation Seminar Series with the presentation “Electric Vehicles: Are we in the Driver’s Seat?” It’s not just the population centers that make Oregon ripe for electric vehicles, Beard said. Automakers and governments have also invested heavily to deploy the technology in the state.

Oregon spends roughly $6 billion per year on gasoline, with nearly all of that money leaving the state, Beard said. Switching to a locally produced energy source could keep more of that money in the state.

Of course, predicting the future is never that simple, Beard said. Drivers unhappy with congestion won’t see that problem disappear because their cars now run on electricity. “Traffic congestion is a real killer,” he said.

“There’s no silver bullet that will solve our mobility problems,” he said. ”You’ve got to have a number of approaches for being able to move people and goods.”

For a technology that doesn’t require foreign oil, the fate of electric vehicles is intertwined with the oil cartels, Beard said. The...

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Apr 07, 2011

By 2020, the Eugene-Springfield area could have 15,000 electric vehicles on the road. In March, regional leaders took a big step toward making sure their communities will be ready.

The Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB), University of Oregon’s Community Service Center and the city of Eugene hosted a forum March 30 to discuss the future of electric vehicles. A culmination of a yearlong OTREC-funded project to assess the implications of electric vehicles, the forum identified and analyzed key issues and opportunities for Eugene-Springfield.The event brought together over 30 invited representatives of the city of Eugene, Lane County, local industry and other interested partners to hear three perspectives on the issue.

Speaking at the event were:

  • George Beard, Portland State University, Office of Research & Strategic Partnerships
  • Art James, Oregon Department of Transportation, Office of Innovation, Project Director, Oregon EV Initiative
  • Bob Parker, University of Oregon, Community Service Center

The forum covered key industry developments and regional initiatives, and offered insights into potential impacts to local agencies and potential consumers. EWEB and the City of Eugene are planning for the infrastructure to support the charging of between 12,000 and 15,000 electric vehicles.

In a few months, the city of Eugene hopes to have several public electric car charging stations...

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