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Charging stations for electric cars coming to state’s busiest highways

Paul Hanna, fleet and facilities supervisor for the City of Olympia, washes off a Nissan Leaf all-electric car in 2013. The state recently announced plans to spend $1 million to build charging stations along some of Washington’s busiest highways.
Paul Hanna, fleet and facilities supervisor for the City of Olympia, washes off a Nissan Leaf all-electric car in 2013. The state recently announced plans to spend $1 million to build charging stations along some of Washington’s busiest highways. Staff file, 2013

The state of Washington will spend $1 million to help build 15 new electric-vehicle charging stations along some of the busiest highways.

The charging stations will be along Interstate 5 between Everett and Chehalis; along Interstate 90 east of Snoqualmie Pass, and along interstates 82 and 182, and Highway 395 to connect the Tri-Cities with I-90.

The money comes from the $150 annual registration fees on electric cars. It will be matched by about $1.5 million in private spending to build the charging stations.

“We need to make electric vehicles a viable option for Washington drivers and an important part of that means making it easy for drivers to charge and go,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in announcing the funding. “This is an exciting step in our efforts to provide drivers cleaner transportation options.”

The charging stations are expected to be completed by June 2019. Once finished, they will ensure that there is a public charging station every 30 to 50 miles on those roadways.

Typical electric vehicles need to be charged every 80 to 200 miles. In the Puget Sound region, new charging stations will be in Lacey, Tacoma, Federal Way SeaTac and Everett.

Inslee has embraced electric vehicles, setting a goal of having 50,000 registered in Washington by 2020, up from 8,000 in 2013.

The state built charging stations on I-5 and Highway 2 in 2012, and the city of Seattle announced plans last year to install hundreds of charging stations in homes.

The first $32,000 of the purchase price of an electric vehicle in Washington is exempt from state sales tax.

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