May 24, 2013
Rolling Down the Arizona EV Highway
Widespread deployment of plug-in electric vehicles requires community readiness efforts in a number of critical areas, not the least of which is the development of charging infrastructure. And on the open highway, charging must be convenient and quick. This was the motivation behind Arizona's "EV Highway," which took a major step forward with the recent installation of a DC fast-charge station in Picacho Peak, Arizona, about midway between Phoenix and Tucson. DC fast chargers provide 60 to 80 miles of range in about 20 minutes of charging.“Nissan and other EV manufacturers were counting on having the corridor done so that prospective EV drivers could feel confident that they would be able to make the trip up I-10 and have quick charging along the route.”Colleen Crowninshield, Coordinator
Tucson Clean Cities Coalition
Collaborating with industry partners, Tucson Clean Cities Coordinator Colleen Crowninshield put together a local working group, inviting representatives from all city and county governments in the Phoenix-Tucson area. Valley of the Sun Clean Cities Coordinator Bill Sheaffer was also among the group's participants. With Crowninshield and Sheaffer's help, the group identified charging station locations and the types of charging equipment needed. Soon, several Level 2 stations began popping up in both the Phoenix and Tucson areas. The group also identified the need for a DC fast-charge station along the Interstate 10 corridor.
"Nissan and other EV manufacturers were counting on having the corridor done so that prospective EV drivers could feel confident that they would be able to make the trip up I-10 and have quick charging along the route," Crowninshield said. Crowninshield and Sheaffer worked with charging network developer GoE3 on the Picacho Peak project. In December 2012, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennet was on hand to help open the station. Crowninshield said Secretary Bennet's support was key to the project's realization, as was support from the Pima Association of Governments, which houses Tucson Clean Cities.
Since the station's opening, interest in the project has continued to grow; plans are now under way to expand the Arizona EV Highway all the way to Nogales, Mexico, via Interstate 19.