New charging stations include three in Whatcom, Skagit counties…

Lines of electric cars decorated the parking lot of Bellingham’s Sehome Village one morning in late May. Excited electric car owners and supporters hovered under informational tents and all around the fascinating vehicles.

This was a big day for sustainable transportation in Washington.

Thanks to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and the electric charging station partner AeroVironment, this day marked the opening of 10 new electric vehicle (EV) charging sites in northern Washington, including locations in Custer and Burlington as well as the Bellingham station. This border-to-border network of stations makes up the first stage of the “West Coast Electric Highway,” where EV owners are able to travel emission-free all along Interstate 5 and U.S. Route 2.

After speaking to the crowd, Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville and WSDOT Secretary Paula Hammond cut the event ribbon to celebrate the grand opening of these stations.

Everyone gathered around as electric vehicle owner Ken Carrasco plugged in his 2011 Nissan LEAF (Leading Environmentally friendly Affordable Family car) into Bellingham’s newest “DC fast” charging station. Carrasco said he was honored to be chosen as the first person to use it.

Looking for some electric vehicle charging 101? EV drivers can use three different kinds of charging stations: Level 1, Level 2 and AeroVironment’s state-of-the-art “DC fast chargers.” Level 1 comes with your car, and plugs straight into any common 110-volt wall outlet for a full charge in 12 to 24 hours. Level 2 stations use a 240-volt circuit, the same type as your electric stove or dryer. It provides a full charge in three to six hours. A DC fast-charge station is perfect for longer trips because it delivers a full charge for a nearly depleted EV battery in less than 30 minutes. Eight of the 10 new stations feature DC fast chargers, one of them in Sehome Village.

Electric car owners: don’t miss your chance to take advantage of these new charging stations. AeroVironment will provide free charging for a limited time.

"This border-to-border network of stations makes up the first stage of the “West Coast Electric Highway,” where EV owners are able to travel emission-free all along Interstate 5 and U.S. Route 2."