Oregon joins electric car drive

About 1,000 all-electric cars Nissan Leaf and more than 2,250 electric charging stations are supposed to arrive in Eugene, Corvallis, Albany and Lebanon later this year as part of a national demonstration project, dubbed the Electric Vehicle project.

Oregon is one of five states chosen for the public-private venture, which will gather data on electric vehicle drivers’ needs. As part of that project, Oregon will share in a $100 million federal grant, using the money to help businesses expand into manufacturing electric vehicle components in Coburg, Albany and Lebanon.

As of July 1, electrical contractors can use the state Building Code Division’s minor label permits Web site to buy permits to install charging units for electric vehicles.

Contractors who buy minor label permits buy them in lots of 10; each permit costs $14. These permits are usually processed the same day, according to Lisa Morawski, spokeswoman for the Department of Commerce and Business Services, which includes the Building Code Division. Only one in 10 installations is inspected, chosen at random, she said.

Going the traditional route, contractors would have to go to their own jurisdiction to buy a permit, and the prices vary. For example, Pendleton and Coquille charge $54 for the type of electrical permit needed for an electric vehicle charging station, Morawski said.

These types of permits are usually processed in one or two days, but all would need to be inspected, she said. In addition to the electric car demonstration project, individual companies are venturing into the electric vehicle arena.

A Eugene startup, Arcimoto, has developed a prototype for a three-wheeled, two-seat electric vehicle, called the Pulse, that is powered by a 62-horsepower electric motor and energized by eight 12-volt lead-acid batteries.

The company, which is seeking investment funds, hopes to begin delivering vehicles this fall, according to its Web site. Arcimoto is accepting $500 deposits for the vehicles, it said.

The company’s target price for the base model is $17,500, before any federal and state tax incentives. More detailed information on pricing and specifications will be available closer to the delivery date, the company says. The Lending Outlet and Umpqua Bank will work with buyers to secure financing, according to Arcimoto.

By Ilene Aleshire, The Register-Guard, www.registerguard.com/