Electric cars might not hit widespread commercial use for some time, but that hasnt stopped Portland from becoming the first North American city to establish a public-use rapid-charging station for vehicles.
The station was unveiled on Aug. 5 by Portland General Electric. The device it will use, which can charge an electric vehicle's battery to 80% capacity within 20 to 30 minutes, was manufactured by Takasago, a subsidiary of Japanese network technology firm NEC.
Powered by lithium-ion batteries, the Takasago Rapid Charging Station dramatically decreases the charging time on electric vehicles. Other comparable charging stations around the world often require a 110-volt station 8 to 12 hours to fully charge, while a 220-volt station can take 4 to 8 hours.
Oregon is one of five states in a federal pilot project developing infrastructure for electric cars.
"Quick-charging stations are an exciting advancement in our effort to bring electric vehicles to Oregon," said Gov. Kulongoski. "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."
The station was showcased while charging the Nissan Leaf, an all-electric model the Japanese automaker will release in December. The Leaf gets 100 miles per charge and Nissan estimates it will cost about $25,000 after a federal tax credit.