Washington’s 440 mile Cascade Loop Scenic Highway is EV-Ready

Electric vehicle chargers make it easy to visit north central Washington destinations

WENATCHEE – Gov. Jay Inslee today proclaimed the official start of electric vehicle tourism season at an electric vehicle gathering at Pybus Public Market in Wenatchee. With strategically located electric vehicle charging now in place, electric vehicle drivers can travel along the 440 mile Cascade Loop Highway route quietly and with zero tailpipe emissions.

“This is an incredibly important step toward enabling broad adoption of electric vehicles in Washington state,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. “We’re seeing the exciting results of the hard work by our agencies and partners, and seeing how a cleaner transportation system can help us promote local jobs, rural businesses and clean energy.”

Gov. Inslee recognized Plug-In North Central Washington for coordinating with the Cascade Loop Association and businesses to electrify the entire Cascade Loop Highway. Plug-In NCW has encouraged several businesses to install charging stations at popular travel destinations to attract eco-tourists to the region.

More than 12,000 plug-in electric vehicles are registered in Washington within driving distance of the region. Charging-station-host sites reach a new customer base of travelers that stop to charge and spend time shopping or dining at the establishment.

“Businesses within the corridor have been good partners and we appreciate their work,” said Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson. “With electric vehicle charging available along this popular scenic loop, travelers from British Columbia, Portland and Seattle can choose to take their plug in EVs on road trips this summer.”

Work to electrify the scenic loop builds on a 2012 partnership to open the nation’s first electric vehicle-friendly scenic byway route along US 2. With federal Recovery Act funding through the State Energy Program, the Washington State Department of Transportation contracted with AeroVironment to install electric vehicle fast chargers in four communities spaced 25-50 miles apart along the corridor: Sultan, Skykomish, Leavenworth, and Wenatchee. The route connects to the Interstate 5 “electric highway” enabling electric vehicle drivers to travel from across the west coast to north central Washington.

“Enthusiasm and preparation for electric vehicles arriving in north central Washington has been ramping up for the past eight years,” said Ron Johnston-Rodriguez, Plug-In NCW president.  “The state of Washington’s deployment of DC fast chargers along US 2 proved to be an energizing catalyst for the private and public sectors to invest in electric vehicle charging equipment and to promote electric vehicle tourism in the region.”

North central Washington charging locations along the Cascade Loop Highway include Stevens Pass Ski Area; Leavenworth area’s 59’ Diner, Icicle Inn, City Hall and Sleeping Lady Resort; and Wenatchee’s Convention Center, Pybus Public Market and SpringHill Suites by Marriott Wenatchee Hotel. Other recent installations include Campbell’s Resort and City Hall in Chelan;  Pateros Lakeshore Inn; and Methow Valley’s Twisp River Pub; Pine Near RV Park; and Mazama Country Inn.

Each of these venues installed Level 2 charging stations that allow electric vehicle drivers to “fuel up” while visiting local attractions. Level 2 equipment charges vehicles at the rate of about 15 to 30 miles of driving range per hour of charging. A complete list of charging locations can be found in the Cascade Scenic Loop Travel Guide.

Plug-In NCW has a high amperage Level 2 (haL2) electric vehicle charging equipment program to help businesses get started. Plug-In NCW provides expert technical resources regarding charging station equipment and installation. Through private financing, charging equipment may be provided free of charge as a three-year “lease” to businesses or organizations that agree to cover installation costs, liability insurance and maintenance.

In addition to securing more charging stations, the Plug-In NCW has also coordinated with the Cascade Loop Association to provide EV Itineraries to help electric vehicle drivers plan their trip.

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