Vehicle Charging Stations in Thurston County

Potential car charging station design.

Washington State has really developed a soft spot for the environment in recent years. And why not when you can drive through acres of emerald forests, past miles of beautiful beaches, and through any of our majestic mountains? It’s no wonder then, that many people have become concerned about the exhaust spewing from their tailpipes and into the clouds above.

This year, Nissan, Ford and soon, Toyota, will be shipping some of their all-electric vehicles to five test states/regions across the United States. Of which Washington State and the Puget Sound area are one. These cars run an average of one hundred miles on a full battery, and are manufactured so that they can be charged from a station in your garage. Now, all that remains is to establish a way for drivers on the go to charge up away from home. That is where the city of Olympia and a company called, Ecotality come in.

Ecotality has recently received a grant from the Department of Energy to put towards setting up an infrastructure of public, “quick-charging,” stations around the Puget Sound area. In Thurston County, Olympia and Lacey will be the focus areas. These stations, bearing a strong similarity to a parking meter, will be set up in retail parking lots, or near curbside parking spots in urban areas.

Some of the first places to be installing, or have already installed stations are as follows:

  • Outback Steakhouse restaurant in Olympia (2615 Capital Mall Drive SW Olympia, WA 98502)
  • Two TOP Food and Drug locations (5600 Martin Way E. Lacey, WA and 1313 Cooper Point Road Southwest, Olympia)
  • Timberland Regional Library (500 College Street SE Lacey, WA)

These stations can charge a Nissan Leaf from 0%-80% battery in half an hour; the time it would take to run a few errands in the store, or stop for a meal. Charging is not going to be free, although the exact pricing has not yet been announced. As this network of stations expands, the hope is that more consumers will buy all-electric vehicles, and be supported by their cities, to the point where the need for gasoline-powered cars no longer exists.

2011 is going to be a big year for the electric car. If it can prove to skeptics that electric-only power is more cost effective, and comparably convenient to gasoline- powered cars, we will have taken a giant leap toward protecting the Puget Sound, and the planet.

Published: Jan. 17, 2012 here.