The West Coast Electric Highway in the US, which sees electric car charging stations dotting the route from the Canadian border in the north to the Mexican border in the south, is getting a new type of EV charging station as well. Now you’ll be able to charge up your electric bike along the way too, at least in the Oregon section.
That’s because the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has announced that it has taken the initiative to outfit all 44 of the electric car charting stations along the Electric Highway in its states with extra 110V plugs.
Those outlets can be used by electric bikes, or other smaller micromobility vehicles like electric scooters or electric unicycles, to charge up at the same stations used by electric cars.
The announcement was made at a press event this week where Oregon Governor Kate Brown discussed the state’s commitment to electric vehicle charging of all forms. On hand was an e-bike that was used to demonstrate the new 110V charging outlets by recharging the electric bike on the spot.
The chargers currently reside along I-5, I-84, US 101, and a few other highways in the state. Further work on the Electric Highway is ongoing, with several more charging stations expected to be added later this year. All of them will contain charging outlets that can be used by electric bikes.
Unlike electric cars, which generally charge on Level 2 receptacles that offer higher power (or DC Fast Chargers, which offer even higher power), electric bicycles use Level 1 charging. That means they plug directly into a typical wall outlet and charge just like a cellphone or laptop.
While Level 2 charging stations for cars are becoming much more widespread, especially on the US West Coast, e-bikes aren’t nearly as fortunate. Anyone who has had their cellphone battery run dry in the middle of the day knows how hard it can be to find an electrical outlet while out in public. Now imagine you’ve got to roll your 50+ lb. (22+ kg) electric bike up to the outlet you finally located.
That’s exactly why states like Oregon are making a point of installing dedicated outlets that can be used by electric bicycle riders and other users of micromobility devices.
It also helps head off the phenomenon of “guerilla charging,” where e-bike riders seek out any outlet they can find. I once performed a 500-mile (800 km) e-bike ride over several days and had to charge up along the way anywhere I could find. When I was lucky, I could plug in an extension cord at a restaurant as I stopped for lunch. When I was unlucky, that meant rolling up behind an ice machine at a gas station and plugging into the outlet there while hoping no one noticed – another one of those “better to ask for forgiveness than permission” moments. Hey, I bought some snacks!
But with the growing number of initiatives to democratize electric vehicle charging for all EVs – not just electric cars – electric bike owners may one day wake to an entirely new charging landscape.
via: Bike Portland
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