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EV Awareness Day in Portland, Oregon  (Source:
Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn believes EVs will be 10 percent of the market by 2020, and Jim Piro believes Portland can accept that challenge

Portland, Oregon is looking to be a leader in the electric vehicle (EV) industry, and is proving its dedication by setting up new charging stations and opting to be a test site for these vehicles. Earlier this week, Portland State University and Portland General Electric Co. even announced that they will conduct a two-year research project to see if different charging stations affect the way EV drivers use charging infrastructure.

But Portland's mission, while progressive and environmentally-friendly, raises questions like "Will Portland's utility need to increase capacity?" and "How soon before the use of electric vehicles will make a noticeable difference to the grid?"

Portland General Electric CEO Jim Piro believes the city is best suited for EVs and their infrastructure, and that supporting an increased amount of these vehicles in the future will be no problem.

Many estimate that electric cars will make up 2 to 5 percent of the U.S. by 2020. Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, on the other hand, believes EVs will be 10 percent of the market by 2020. While this seems like a high percentage, Piro has reason to believe that Portland is up for the challenge, since more than 300 Nissan Leafs are on the roads in the city. This is more than one-tenth of the Leafs that Nissan has sold outside of California.

While Piro believes Portland has the potential to buy more electric cars, he doesn't think a supply and variety of models will be available anytime soon. So by the time manufacturing is "scaled up," Piro estimates Portland will have 170,000 vehicles in its metro area, or 50 megawatts of additional capacity. He says this is hardly enough for the utility's load to change if vehicles charge at off-peak times.

For all vehicles to switch to electric, or at least a majority of vehicles, Piro said there would be a need to increase capacity, considering a total of 500 megawatts.

"My guess is that we'd have to add a little bit of generation, but not a lot," said Piro. "It would add up to about 1000 megawatts off-peak, so that would be pushing the system if we tried to do that all night. Now our hydro capacity is tapped out, so we can't count on that. But frankly, that's like one natural gas plant, and a lot of that can be done off-peak."

Piro said the load of an EV charging station is equivalent to running two hair dryers at once or running a load of laundry in the dryer. Many are concerned that a cluster of EV owners in one neighborhood will be a problem, but utility companies are upgrading transformers to prevent this from becoming an issue. In addition, Piro added that there are "off-residential" applications that will allow electric to shine as well.

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Portland, natch
By Dorkyman on 8/19/2011 7:24:18 PM , Rating: 1
I've lived in the Portland area since 1990. These people are living in a parallel universe. Put more simply, they're nuts.

The mayor is a gay pedophile (honest, public knows but nobody cares), one of the more popular bumper stickers reads "Keep Portland Weird", the local county has the highest rate of heroin overdose deaths in the country... need I go on?

So it figures Portland would be first on board to throw money away on public electric charging stations.

RE: Portland, natch
By smitty3268 on 8/19/2011 9:54:22 PM , Rating: 3
First, sleeping with an 18 year old is not being a pedophile. It's creepy, and all the more so since the guy in question was an intern in the government, but there's nothing illegal about it.

Second, Portland is weird. They probably have more hippies per capita than anywhere in the country, including San Francisco.

RE: Portland, natch
By Reclaimer77 on 8/20/2011 12:43:10 PM , Rating: 2
First, sleeping with an 18 year old is not being a pedophile. It's creepy, and all the more so since the guy in question was an intern in the government, but there's nothing illegal about it.

I don't know what you call it, since the relationship most likely started when he was 17 years old. And it might be "legal", but come on, how much of a creeper do you have to be to prey on a young intern like that? He REALLY couldn't have found someone his own age that he wasn't in a position of power over to have a relationship with? I call it conduct unbecoming of a major. Sex scandals and coverups and a media circus is not the kind of things you should be bringing to your cabinet and those who voted you into office. Also it just shows very poor judgement and moral fiber, a weakness of character you wouldn't want to see in a public official.

RE: Portland, natch
By smitty3268 on 8/20/2011 4:09:13 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed that it shows bad judgement, etc.

It just isn't pedophilia. I can't help but think the reason you are calling it that is because he's gay. We don't call people like Hugh Hefner a pedophile. Or Charlie Sheen.

Pedophiles think someone is getting too old when they turn 12.

RE: Portland, natch
By Reclaimer77 on 8/20/2011 7:49:07 PM , Rating: 2
I never called him a pedophile, that was the OP. But don't let that get in your way of calling me a homophobe.

I called him a "creeper", which I think better describes him than a pedophile.

RE: Portland, natch
By TSS on 8/20/2011 10:16:10 PM , Rating: 3
I called him a "creeper", which I think better describes him than a pedophile.

Because he'll explode in somebodys face? (sry it's late, couldn't resist :P)

RE: Portland, natch
By Reclaimer77 on 8/21/2011 12:15:19 AM , Rating: 2
Also the double standard continues here and in the media. If this guy was a Republican, none of these comments would be rated down. Nobody would question us or accuse us of slamming him because he's "gay". Everyone would be piling on him. Also, he would have damn well had to resign his office, like Republicans always do when something like this happens.

RE: Portland, natch
By smitty3268 on 8/21/2011 2:05:12 AM , Rating: 2
The Republican senator from Louisiana disproves your point.

Some locations just don't care whether you sleep with prostitutes or interns, as long as you belong to the right political party.

Anyway, I didn't actually catch that you weren't the OP, so sorry for replying as though you were. But I think my point stands. I don't think most men caught with an 18 year old woman are labelled a pedophile.

I certainly wouldn't elect him, though. You're absolutely right that he's a disgrace.

RE: Portland, natch
By chrispyski on 8/20/2011 3:48:24 AM , Rating: 2
Something tells me that if there was an actual recall vote when the sex scandal broke, you'd complain about the millions of dollars it would cost the city to run a special election, too.

RE: Portland, natch
By albundy2 on 8/20/2011 6:19:51 AM , Rating: 1
let me guess... you're from California.

actually, i don't care where you are from, just go back soon.

RE: Portland, natch
By Dorkyman on 8/20/2011 1:40:50 PM , Rating: 2
Very good, Al, but not a difficult guess since most transplants back then came from California. I came from SoCal. Someone gave me the finger the very first day we drove on Portland's decrepit freeways (California license plates, you know).

And, yes, we are planning to leave Oregon. When we moved here there were numerous Fortune 500 companies headquartered here. Now, I believe the number is just 1--Nike. Like those businesses, we will be heading to a place where common sense is more common.

RE: Portland, natch
By albundy2 on 8/20/2011 7:24:11 PM , Rating: 2
thank god, today would not be soon enough.

RE: Portland, natch
By albundy2 on 8/20/2011 7:43:26 PM , Rating: 2
btw, i don't have a problem with all Californian's... just the one's like you.

RE: Portland, natch
By Dorkyman on 8/21/2011 5:22:07 PM , Rating: 2
Golly, Al, such hostility. You might want to consider that many folks reading your comments automatically discount whatever you have to say when you carry on like that.

Oh, you also might want to read up on the proper use of the apostrophe ('). But maybe it's an "Oregon" kind of thing.

Three Wheelers
By borismkv on 8/19/2011 6:54:59 PM , Rating: 2
The Reliant Robin had a singular problem that eclipsed all others. I hope they have invested some time in fixing that issue with the three wheeled cars in that picture. Otherwise they're going to have a problem on their hands. Namely, a lot of customers pissed off at the fact that their car flips over every time they take a corner at speed.

RE: Three Wheelers
By spread on 8/19/2011 8:39:23 PM , Rating: 2
Why don't they just stick the single wheel and a good portion of the weight to the rear? Like the T-Rex 3 wheeler "bike". This thing has amazing cornering and fantastic acceleration and braking on account of it's lightness.

Plus it looks great, which is what you want to drive. Not a clown car.

RE: Three Wheelers
By CharonPDX on 8/19/2011 8:48:51 PM , Rating: 2
The only in-development three-wheeler I've seen that is designed for speeds higher than 25 MPH is the Arcimoto SRK and it is designed to handle corners.

The "Persu V3", which started life as the "VentureOne", and has drifted into the realm of pure vaporware, was a three-wheeler that tilted, as it was supposed to be based on the Carver; but it is pure vapor at this point. Back in 2006, they claimed a 2008 release date, now they claim 2014, but STILL don't have a working prototype.

Arcimoto has gone from "nobody has heard of us" to one-step-short-of-production in about two years, going through five generations of prototypes in the process.

RE: Three Wheelers
By foolsgambit11 on 8/21/2011 2:48:49 AM , Rating: 2
Ahh, the Reliant Robin. Loved that Top Gear video.

Let Portland Lead the Way
By smithbd01 on 8/20/2011 1:10:29 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't matter what you think about the city or it's people. If a city is preparing to handle the onset of electric vehicles, I am all for it. Yes, I am from Portland, OR. I am proud of how beautiful and green that city is.

I see the potential problem being that Portland has so many hills, these electric vehicles are going to have problems getting up and down the hills and the corners coming down those hills on a three wheeled EV may be quite dangerous. A place like Las Vegas is more flat and this could be more practical there.

EVs are too limited in range, and if it requires much more power to get over the hills in Portland I just hope they plan accordingly.

I personally want the best for the city of Portland. Treehuggers they may be, but from my experience a generally good group of people..

RE: Let Portland Lead the Way
By albundy2 on 8/20/2011 7:38:42 PM , Rating: 2
lol, hills... you know back east they call those mountains.

Back to EVs...
By Bob Wallace on 8/20/2011 5:02:03 PM , Rating: 2
Are you confusing total fleet and annual sales here?

"Many estimate that electric cars will make up 2 to 5 percent of the U.S. by 2020. Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, on the other hand, believes EVs will be 10 percent of the market by 2020."

I believe Ghosn predicted that EVs will be 10% of all sales by 2020. If sales were that high then total fleet percentage of EVs would be in the low single digits.

That said, it might be a good idea to cut Ghosn some slack. I believe that he made that prediction prior to our realizing how deep an economic hole the US and rest of the world is in. Things are likely to move slower until markets recover.


And you crotchety old guys, get yourselves some Metamucil or something and see you can't get over your case of cranky.

By TheEinstein on 8/23/2011 4:41:25 AM , Rating: 2
I am running for State Representative in district #44, my campaign is Making Oregon's Future and my name is Michael Harrington.

With full disclosure done, now I will want to talk about this.

A proposal has been made to time lapse photography some of these stations. I believe I may do so as part of my campaign if time/funds permit.

I must say however that this program seems to be farfetched since Costco recently pulled the plugs on their stations due to lack of customers.

It would seem to me that with typically larger charge times the optimal placements is ONLY work and home. This means these stations may see LESS THAN optimal usage.

Spending money on projects right now that are unsure is something Oregon SHOULD NOT BE DOING! We have fiscal problems, and our Legislature and Governor wish to spend 1.5 billion for a bridge for lightrail into Milwaukie and make a Toll bridge over the Columbia (replacing the I-5 bridge and making I-205 bridge tolled as well).

We need to be fiscally sound until we can recover our economy. This is just silly.

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