Comment

Rototiller Conversion Complete

Jack Anderson and Randy Brooks are wrapping up their latest conversion project - bringing an old 1984 Troy-Bilt Horse model rototiller back into action through battery power.

Check out the full story here

Comment

Comment

Banks Lake Brew is Boiling!

We are very pleased to announce that the 80A charger at the Banks Lake Brew is about to become a reality. Electricians have now completed the installation process. This unit is the second in a series of units that will connect Wenatchee with Spokane. Waterville was first and when Coulee City is completed, we fully anticipate that within the next two months we will have identified and signed up a Host in Davenport, which will complete the series.

When finished, Highway 2 will be Washington State’s first and only EV80 drivable East-West route that is equipped with haL2 EVSE J1772 units. We also have a really excellent potential Host in Grand Coulee which is the town next to Grand Coulee Dam. While not on the cross state route, it is a heavily visited tourist attraction and only about 30 miles from Coulee City.  So really, why wouldn't the largest producer of electricity have an electric car charger? We intend to fix that soon.

Comment

1 Comment

Your Help is Needed Now!

Plug-In NCW has established haL2 (>70A) EVSE stations along the scenic tourism routes throughout central Washington with the donations of EV drivers and supporters. It seemed easy because so many people want to take their electric vehicles around the Cascade Loop and enjoy the many activities the northern Cascades offer.

We are now striving to connect Spokane to our recreational paradise by placing haL2 EVSE units in Coulee City, Davenport and Grand Coulee. Our criteria for a Host site requires that there are activities to participate in while charging. As we move further eastward it is more difficult to find a site that meets these objectives. In Coulee City we have a golden opportunity at the Banks Lake Brew. It is located on Highway 2 across the road from the beautiful city park on the shore of Banks Lake. There is a crosswalk from the Banks Lake Brew to a hiking path that follows the lake shore, they serve excellent coffee, food and maintain an up-scale environment. And it's only a few blocks walk into "downtown" Coulee City. We have an installation bid that is more than the owner can afford so we are asking you to help.  

Please make a donation now! Checks should be made payable to Plug-In North Central Washington, and sent to PO Box 4107, Wenatchee, WA 98807-4107. You can also use the "Donate" button here. Please indicate that your donation is to help with installations on Highway 2. We will recognize your donation with a federal tax compliant receipt.

1 Comment

Comment

Gov. Inslee Declares Start of 2015 EV Tourism Season

Gov. Jay Inslee was in Wenatchee last week to give a proclamation kicking off the 2015 Electric Vehicle Tourism Season. Representatives from Plug-In NCW, WSDOT, city of Wenatchee and over 100 community members helped make the event a big success. Thank you to those who attended and all who plan to visit North Central Washington during this year's tourism season. 

Check out coverage of the event from local radio station KOHO 101.1 FM here.

And here's the official proclamation from Gov. Inslee:

Comment

Comment

CS-100 is Operational at Newhalem

The 80A charger at Newhalem is operational. Plug-In NCW validated a CS-100 charger at Seattle City Light's Newhalem site June 9. This unit is a temporary public use charger loaned to SCL until their four Eaton units are powered up later this summer. There is no cost for using this charger. It is located on the outside of a large warehouse near the water tower. Exit Highway 20 at the store proceed to the "T" intersection and turn left. Weather is fine, come on over. 

Comment

Comment

Newest Addition to my E-Stable

By Gary Taylor, PINCW Board Member

I want to introduce the newest members of my EV family - the EGO 56v Lithium Ion mower and blower. I’ve been thinking I need to replace my 20 year old gas mower for quite some time now and have been casually looking at options. 

I saw a review of this mower online https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LABnyPzxB8E which peaked my interest so the research began. I can’t find one single review anywhere that doesn’t put this platform of lawn tools at the top. I’m thoroughly pleased with my decision to purchase these products and the only drawback I see so far is…….I have to wait another whole week to use them! Absolutely a five star rating.  

Comment

Comment

Newhalem Update: 26 May 2015

It's been a long process, but according to our source at Seattle City Light's Newhalem site the Eaton chargers are now physically installed. The hold up is installation of a new transformer. The expected opening date is "... before the 4th of July."  Sounds like a great reason to visit Newhalem!

Plug-In North Central Washington  worked closely with Seattle City Light to finish this last segment of the Cascade Loop needing EVSE units installed. Because the North Cascades Highway is open and the EV tourism season is already happening we have offered to lend an 80A Clipper Creek unit for use between now and when the Eaton units are energized.  Check here soon for more information....

Comment

Comment

Plug-In NCW Completes Spring Cleaning

One little known benefit Plug-In NCW provides our Host Association members is the April and October cleaning. 

We visit each car charger in our network to check its physical appearance, serviceability, any needed maintenance and monitor the battery replacement service. The charger is cleaned and the batteries used in the energy monitors are replaced. We also download the energy use data in order to share that usage information with the Host. 

Plug-In NCW has 13 haL2 (>70 A) EVSE active throughout North Central Washington. This month board member Randy Brooks and haL2 coordinator Jack Anderson made "the circuit" to perform this maintenance.  We are happy to report that all our stations are ready for your visit.

Comment

Comment

Greater Wenatchee Area Technology Alliance Nominates PINCW

Plug-In North Central Washington was excited to learn we are a nominee for the "2015 Tech Savvy Business Award." 

According to GWATA (Greater Wenatchee Area Technology Alliance), "A Tech Savvy Business is an organization or entity that has successfully applied technology to one or more aspects of their operations to improve their efficiencies or differentiate their product or service for a competitive advantage. Nominees will be judged on their level of innovation, success of technology integration, contribution to the local economic base, and the impact of the improved product or service on internal and external constituent.

The top three candidates were announced February 20.  Awards will be presented March 17 at GWATA’s 2015 Innovator Awards Luncheon, held at the Wenatchee Convention Center from 12pm-1:30pm.  

Comment

Comment

2014 - Record Year for EV Sales

According to "Inside EVs," nearly 120,000 electric vehicles were sold in the United States during 2014. With more EVs out-and-about, many additional people will have the opportunity to learn about the excitement of driving electric. Our New Year's prediction is that the trend towards electrification of automobiles will increase during 2015 even with $50 a barrel oil!

Comment

Waterville haL2 Opens the Way to Spokane

Comment

Waterville haL2 Opens the Way to Spokane

Plug-In North Central Washington and the Highway 2 Brew are excited to announce the haL2 (240V70A) charger is now operational.  In addition there is dedicated parking and one NEMA 14-50 (240V 40A) and one NEMA 15-5 (120V 15A) to ensure that you can charge no matter which EV you drive.  This location is a first step in making Highway 2 between Spokane and Wenatchee ready for EV80 travel. Highway 2 Brew is in a wonderful location that serves great coffee, sandwiches and has a gazebo on a grass "mini park" to enjoy them in. It is also within a short walk of the Douglas County Museum, a beautiful city park and the main street shopping area.

We are actively seeking a host site in Coulee City, if you know someone that might be interested let us know! 

Comment

Comment

Washington Completes First Fully-Electrified Scenic Loop Drive

By Ron Engeldinger

One of the most scenic road trips in the nation, Washington’s Cascade Loop Scenic Highway leads travelers on a 440-mile journey through a wilderness of glacier-clad peaks, past towns that proclaim their Western heritage, amid lush evergreen forests, alongside thriving vineyards, and across islands jutting into Puget Sound. With the recent installation of the final charging station, travelers can now navigate the entire scenic loop drive in an electric vehicle. Whether it is a day trip from Seattle, a week-long adventure, or something in-between, the strategically placed charging stations make it possible for electric car enthusiasts to undertake green travel as they wind their way through Washington’s diverse landscape.

With more than 60 charging stations along the route, even cars designed for the urban commute can navigate the loop without losing their charge. A 2014 Nissan Leaf, with a range of less than 100 miles, was the perfect vehicle for a test ride.

Getting a quick energy boost at the new charging stations in Chelan.

Everett, located 30 miles north of Seattle, is an ideal starting point for those on the western side of the state. Heading out from Everett, the Stevens Pass Greenway provides electric vehicle drivers their first challenge as it climbs from sea level to the 4,000-foot pass. Charging stations along the way offer the opportunity to enjoy the scenery of quaint mountain towns, and the ski area at the summit allows drivers to charge before heading down to the Wenatchee Valley with its multitude of recreation possibilities.

From the Wenatchee Valley, the route heads north along the east side of the Cascades, hugging the Columbia River past fruit orchards and vineyards and eventually climbing into the heart of the North Cascades. Charging stations are available in picturesque towns such as Chelan, on the shores of magnificent Lake Chelan, and in the old west theme town of Winthrop. The final charging opportunity before climbing the pass is the mountain resort village of Mazama. From Mazama the route climbs over Washington Pass, which, at an elevation of 5,476 feet, is closed in winter. West of the pass, a charging station in Newhalem provides the boost needed to make it back down from the mountains. The route continues into Puget Sound over the Deception Pass Bridge and along Whidbey Island. Scenic island hamlets such as Freeland and Langley offer the opportunity to recharge once again and take in the Island’s beauty. From Whidbey Island, a 20-minute ferry ride leads back to Everett. 

Quick-charging in Skykomish.

It is only natural that the first long-distance scenic loop drive in the United States fully supporting electric vehicle tourism would be located in the state of Washington. Washington is a leader in the production of renewable energy with more than seventy percent of electricity in the state generated from clean resources. Washington also has one of the nation’s highest percentages of electric cars per total car sales.

The Cascade Loop electrification project was developed and supported by far-sighted community leaders in North Central Washington who saw an opportunity for green economic development. Local advocates, realizing that clean hydropower was one of their region’s biggest economic assets, began asking themselves how they could leverage that resource to provide the best possible return for the community. The greater Seattle region is one of largest deployment areas of electric vehicles in the United States, and North Central Washington already has a bustling tourism industry, receiving more than three million visitors a year, many from the Seattle area. As the North Central Washington Economic Development Commission representatives began looking at new development initiatives for the region, they realized they could tap their tourism and energy resources in new ways by enticing owners of electric vehicles. 

Guided by its mission to promote the adoption of plug-in vehicles throughout the region, Plug-in North Central Washington (PINCW) conceived and developed this groundbreaking project. According to founder Ron Johnston-Rodriguez, PINCW staff spent several years learning all they could about the world of electric vehicles before finalizing plans for the loop, waiting as electric vehicles finally began to catch on with car buyers and car makers.

Taking in the natural beauty of the North Cascades Highway. EVs really can go anywhere.

PINCW volunteer project manager, Jack Anderson, explained that the Cascade Loop project began to take shape in 2011 when the Washington State Department of Transportation used federal stimulus funds to install charging stations along Stevens Pass, allowing electric vehicle travel between Everett and Wenatchee. Once the Stevens Pass Greenway was in place, members of PINCW looked at the map of the region’s charging stations and realized that, with strategic installations, they could work with the Cascade Loop Association to electrify the entire Cascade Loop Highway.

Volunteers secured public support from the state of Washington and donations from private organizations to purchase the necessary chargers, and then began contacting restaurants, hotels, businesses and communities along the route to find strategic locations for the stations. PINCW supplied the chargers while the host locations paid for any installation costs. Host locations also provide the electricity, which is currently free for users. According to Johnston-Rodriguez, people were enthusiastic in their support and the project grew organically as communities and business around the Loop recognized the economic and ecological value of hosting a charging station.

Along with Washington, Oregon is uniquely suited to support electric vehicle ecotourism.  More than 70 percent of Oregon’s electricity is generated by hydroelectric or other clean resources, and electricity rates are some of the lowest in the nation. Oregon’s Tourism Commission, known as Travel Oregon, has identified several scenic loop trips that could be completely navigated by electric vehicles. For example, the Oregon Coast Tour, a 230-mile roundtrip that follows the Columbia River to the Oregon Coast at Astoria, then follows the Pacific Ocean south to Tillamook and returns to Portland over the Coast Mountain Range, could be electrified. As could the Hood River Getaway, which winds for 160 miles through the Columbia River Gorge to Hood River, heads south past Mount Hood and back to Portland. As Oregon continues to install charging stations, more options will become available for electric car drivers, including the first fully electric coastline in the country, which Oregon Travel hopes will stretch the entire length of the Oregon Coast from Astoria to Brookings.

With some car rental agencies now offering electric car rentals in Portland and Seattle, even visitors to the Pacific Northwest can shed their reliance on the combustion engine and participate in green tourism. Johnston-Rodriguez also noted that that this puts Washington and Oregon in a favorable position to reduce net carbon dioxide emissions. With a large portion of electricity generated from renewable sources, overall automobile carbon dioxide emission will decline as the percentage of miles driven by electric vehicles increases.

The Cascade Loop demonstrates that expanded economic benefits and increased tourism can go hand in hand with environmentally sound practices. And word is spreading. In Central Washington, the conversation is now expanding to battery-powered trolleys for public transit, electric fruit harvesting platforms, and electric recreational vehicles. 

This story was originally published at earthisland.org - October 24, 2014

Ron Engeldinger
Ron Engeldinger is a freelance writer living in Portland Oregon. He is an avid outdoorsman and international traveler. His writings focus on culture, history, travel, and environmental issues.

 

Comment

Comment

Doubter to Possessor - A Wenatchee EV Story

By Gary Taylor, Plug-In NCW board member

If I’m being honest, I really never viewed EV or Hybrid vehicles as serious options for consideration when contemplating a new car purchase. I think the image of personal transportation manufactured by the branding machine of our culture does an amazing job of creating a vision of “what I want” in a vehicle. Over the past few years I’ve been slowly exposed to EV technology and have been astonished really at the advancements. It only took one short ride in a Tesla to make me realize the truth about some options I’d never considered. 

So this past weekend when my wife and I decided to add another vehicle to our family, it was reasonable for me to add EV / Hybrid models to my list of candidates.  We both had a list of priorities which included Sporty, Roomy, Fast, Good Handling, Fuel Efficient, Reasonably Priced and Local. Our budget had us looking in the pre-owned car market and we considered several options. In the end we got the Sportiest, Roomiest, Fastest, Best Handling, Most Fuel Efficient local car we looked at, which turned out to be an EV Hybrid - the Chevy Volt. 

It was by far the best value we considered, but it really is everything anyone could want in a car. I look forward to many, many miles of driving past gas stations having the thrill of taking corners at top speed. In my opinion, to not at least consider these vehicles when making a buying decision for an automobile would genuinely inhibit your ability to get the perfect car, save money, help the environment, and put a damn big smile on your face!  Just sayin'.

Comment

Comment

Wenatchee to Spokane

After Friday the 31st of October something more than ghost and goblins began appearing in Waterville! Plug-In North Central Washington and the Highway 2 Brew celebrated the day by starting the installation of an haL2 EVSE unit. This location is a first step in making Highway 2 between Spokane and Wenatchee ready for EV80 travel. Highway 2 Brew is in a wonderful location that serves great coffee, sandwiches and has a gazebo in a grass "mini park" to enjoy them in. It is also within a short walk of the Douglas County Museum, a beautiful city park and the main street shopping area. Plug-In NCW is out "Trick or Treating" for additional donations to purchase two more chargers for locations further east on Highway 2. Your donation will be appreciated.

Comment