January 13, 2011
Come spring, expect to see more plug-in cars zipping into town. Yesterday the Department of Commerce and the Washington State Department of Transportation officially announced plans to make the Stevens Pass Greenway the first electric vehicle-friendly National Scenic Byway route.
Using Federal Recovery Act funding, the state will install two electric vehicle fast charging stations along Highway 2. This route will connect to the I-5 “electric highway” enabling electric vehicle drivers to travel from across the west coast to North Central Washington by the end of 2011.
In addition to the two state purchased fast charging stations, the Port of Chelan County is working with businesses to install Level II charging stations at destinations throughout the local area. These include Stevens Pass Ski Area; Leavenworth’s Sleeping Lady Resort and Icicle Ridge Winery; and Wenatchee’s Convention Center, Town Toyota Center and SpringHill Suites by Marriot Wenatchee Hotel.
Lori Vandenbrink says environmental sustainability is the driving force behind Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort, so when they began hearing about the state’s plans for electric charging stations linking Seattle to Wenatchee, they knew Sleeping Lady had to get on board.
The Sleeping Lady’s Level II charger will take anywhere from 3 to 8 hours depending on the status of the vehicle’s battery. Level II chargers cost between 1 and 5 thouand dollars. Vandenbrink said it will be a valuable service to the hotel’s guests. Vandenbrink thinks the charging station will pay for itself with new electric vehicle owning guests. It will be installed in the spring.