West Coast states are gearing up to build an electric highway

Imagine driving on a highway where semi-trucks don’t belch dirty diesel fumes because they can rely solely on electric power. Well, that could be the case on the West Coast relatively soon. Recently, utilities and state agencies in California, Oregon, and Washington announced a plan to transform highway infrastructure that would speed the transition.

Nine electric utilities and two agencies are behind the West Coast Clean Transit Corridor Initiative, which would help the states reduce their greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, the biggest contributor to carbon emissions in the U.S. Nearly a quarter of that comes from medium and heavy-duty trucks. That’s why these states have laid out the necessary steps to transform the shipping industry in a 185-page report released on Wednesday.

The report calls for electrifying main shipping routes across the region by installing charging stations for freight trucks. It’s projected to cost some $850 million in total. However, these types of infrastructure updates are a worthy investment as governments begin planning their economic recoveries from the coronavirus crisis. The pandemic has created an urgency around green development that can spur economic growth and recovery.

The plan is to ultimately create electric charging stations every 50 miles along Interstate 5, which runs up the West Coast, by 2025. First, the states will build 27 stations for medium-duty vehicles, such as delivery vans. However, by 2030, 14 of these stations will be upgraded to also charge big rig trucks.

Most of the stations will be in California, but Oregon will have five and Washington six. Other main highways are also part of the plan as well.

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