You can’t rock down to Electric Avenue

Portland State’s Electric Avenue, a block-long strip of free charging stations for electric vehicles, has been disassembled to make way for a new School of Business Administration building.

The charging stations have occupied Southwest Montgomery Street between 6th Avenue and Broadway since Aug. 2011. It started as a collaborative sustainable transportation project between PSU, Portland General Electric and the City of Portland, according to a June press release from PSU’s Office of University Communications.

A $60 million construction and remodel of the SBA building is scheduled to begin late this summer. PGE is currently searching for a new home for the charging stations.

“PGE’s partnership with [PSU] and the City of Portland on Electric Avenue is a great example of how we’re helping lead the charge for electric vehicle adoption in Oregon,” said PGE President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Piro in the press release. “Projects like this provide the important charging infrastructure that supports more sustainable transportation options for Oregonians.”

John MacArthur, a manager of the project at the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium at PSU said in the press release that Electric Avenue’s usage has been tracked during its nearly four years at PSU. Research data provided urban planners, and utility and car companies with information about electric vehicles and driver behavior.

MacArthur said that in 2011, Oregon drivers owned about 500 electric cars. That number has increased to nearly 6,000 vehicles. He said Oregon now has about 850 publicly available charging stations.

The project extended beyond its original 2-year timeline because of its high demand and functionality.

“It became vital as a charging node in Portland—one of the only places where you could charge your car in a public right of way,” MacArthur said. He added that use of Electric Avenue steadily increased during its time at PSU.

“During its operation, the site used almost 400,000 kilowatt hours of electricity,” he said. “That represents nearly a million miles of tail pipe-free emissions and a reduction of approximately 540,000 pounds of CO2.”

PSU’s campus still has two charging stations at Parking Structure 1, as well as two stations at the Market Center Building.

PSU Transportation & Parking Services will track the use of those charging stations, and additional stations may be added in the future in order to meet electric vehicle demand.