Portland Tribune: Merkley plans electric vehicle road trip
Author: Jim Redden
Posted: June 25, 2012

Read the original article in Portland Tribune here.

Oregon U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley said he will drive an all-electric vehicle from Portland to Ashland early next month to prove that such a trip is possible on the developing Electric Highway.

Merkley, a strong supporter of electric vehicles, made the announcement Friday morning at EV Roadmap 5, the fifth gathering of EV experts organized by Portland State University and PGE to push the adoption of such vehicles.

"EVs have an important role to play in reducing our dependence on foreign oil and greenhouse gas emissions," Merkley told the more than 100 people who gathered at PGE's downtown headquarters.

Merkley said he would leave from the short street lined with public charging stations at PSU called Electric Avenue on July 2 and reach Ashland the next day. He invited the owners of other EVs to join him. Merkley's staff said they would release more details on the trip soon.

Much of the rest of the conference was spent discussing developments to support EVs that have occurred since the first conference was held 30 months ago. They include the installation of hundreds of public charging station, including dozens along Interstate 5 as part of the electric highway project.

Around 1,200 people in Oregon drive electric vehicles, participants were told, a number expected to slowly increase in coming years until improvements in battery technologies reduce their costs and increase their driving ranges.