The state of Washington is hoping to turn the interstate 5 corridor that runs from Canadian border to Oregon into the nation's first electric highway. With the help of a $1.32 million federal grant, Washington hopes to install between seven and 10 so-called Level 3 electric vehicle charging stations along the main north-south road. Level 3 stations charge at 400 volts and 30 amps or more. Such stations can charge a typical EV battery to 80 percent full in under 30 minutes.

The state plans to take bids from charging station manufacturers this summer and select a contractor to do the installations in the fall. The state may want to reconsider the maximum 80-mile span between charging stations, though. Mainstream EVs like the Nissan Leaf and next year's Ford Focus Electric will only have a nominal range of 100 miles. At night, in the cold or in other non-ideal conditions the range will be considerably less. Level 3 stations will generally also not fully charge a battery. This is done to prevent over-charging and damaging the battery. That means the available range will be reduced further, so the charge stations should really be no more than 50 miles apart.

[Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer]