electric cars

Spokane-based Avista Utilities and Seattle City Light --perhaps soon to be joined by Oregon's two biggest electric utilities: Portland General Electric & Pacific Power -- are diving into a new line of business: charging up electric cars.

They have plans to buy and maintain significant numbers of electric car charging stations. These will be installed at homes, private workplaces and public locations.

Come July, a wider range of fully electric and extended range plug-in hybrid cars will benefit from a sales tax break in Washington state. Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation Monday to raise the cutoff for a tax incentive.

Sales of expensive electric cars are getting a jolt from the impending expiration of a sales tax incentive in Washington state. It goes away June 30.

Ryan Block / Flickr

  

The federal government and many states have offered car buyers incentives to venture into the electric car market. But now some states are going in a different direction -- they’re charging owners more.  Idaho recently approved one of the country’s highest fees for electric cars.

We know it's illegal to park in a disabled parking spot if you don't have a permit. Now, some Oregon lawmakers want to make it a costly infraction to take a spot reserved for electric vehicles.

A coalition in Oregon and the Democratic governor of Washington want to juice sales of electric cars by providing more state incentives.

Photo by Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

  In all three West Coast states, transportation accounts for the largest share of climate-changing greenhouse gases. And all three states are trying to boost the number of zero-emission vehicles on their roads. This week, California passed a milestone toward that goal; 100-thousand electric cars sold in the state since the end of 2010.

Portland General Electric

The electric vehicle industry is looking for new ways to pay for public charging stations as federal stimulus money runs out. That was one of many issues addressed at the Future Energy Conference in Portland Tuesday.

The slow uptake of electric cars by Northwest drivers is prompting calls to extend a tax break in Washington state for new vehicles powered by alternative fuels.

Just like consumers who postponed buying new cars during the recent recession, government agencies also put off vehicle replacements. But now procurement officers are getting busy again.

FinalDoom

The Columbia River hydropower system is full of dams that were built over the strenuous objections of Northwest tribes. Now, two of these old projects are changing ownership -- one in Western Montana and another in central Oregon. And it’s the tribes that were once powerless to stop them, that are becoming the new managers.

Imagine paying less than a dollar per gallon for your commute, compared to today's statewide averages of $3.84 in Oregon and Washington and $3.80 in Idaho for a gallon of gas. Eighty-four cents in Idaho and Washington -- or 96 cents in Oregon -- per gasoline gallon equivalent is how much the US Department of Energy figures it costs to recharge an electric car in each state.

The agency's assistant secretary David Danielson announced an online cost comparison calculator Tuesday for what he calls the "eGallon."

A couple of years ago, Democratic politicians at the state and national levels set heady goals for battery powered cars. For example, in his 2011 State of the Union speech, President Obama said, "With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015."


The automaker Nissan says sales of its fully electric Leaf compact surpassed all other Nissan models at dealers in the Seattle and Portland areas this spring. The announcement Wednesday runs counter to the prevailing wisdom that adoption of plug-in cars has been sluggish.


At Nissan USA headquarters, electric vehicle marketing & sales director Erik Gottfried says he's scrambling to ship enough Leafs to meet demand in the Pacific Northwest. The car maker juiced its plug-in sales by slashing the sticker price and offering low-cost leases.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Charging your electric vehicle could help balance the grid and save you money. Northwest researchers have developed a smart charger to do just that.

Photo courtesy Link Transit

In the last couple years, you've seen mass-produced, 100 percent electric cars take to the streets in the Northwest. In the same vein, now come the first battery powered buses. And we're not talking about trolley buses that get juice from overhead wires, as correspondent Tom Banse explains.

Proposal For 2014 Would Change Oregon's Energy Standards

Oct 26, 2012
U.S. Army Corps

Even as voters decide this year’s ballot measures, initiative activists are already preparing for 2014. One new measure filed in Oregon would allow more power from hydroelectric dams to be part of the state’s renewable energy requirements.

Photo courtesy of Pend Oreille PUD

Another Northwest dam is one step closer to biting the dust. Mill Pond Dam is in the far northeastern corner of Washington state. The obsolete hydroelectric dam is just more than 100 feet long and 55 feet high.

Photo Source: Washington State Department of Transportation

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. -- It’s getting easier to take an electric car on a Northwest road-trip. As Amelia Templeton reports, I-5 is going electric.

There’s a Chevron station just off of I-5 in Central Point, Oregon. You can buy gas here. Its more than 4 dollars a gallon. Or you can plug in an electric car for free, and charge it in about 20 minutes. The Oregon Department of Transportation has just opened 8 charging stations like this one in Southern Oregon.

Neal Appleton brought his Nissan Leaf.

Photo by Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Electric car owners in Washington state would pay a $100 fee under a measure headed to the governor's desk. The aim is to offset the gas taxes these drivers are not paying. The bill passed Thursday night in one of the final votes of this year's regular session of the Washington Legislature, as Tom Banse reports.