Oregon's Electric-Car Czar Heads For PlugShare After 5 Years


Ashley Horvat, photo courtesy of Oregon Department of Transportation

Ashley Horvat, photo courtesy of Oregon Department of Transportation

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For the past couple of years, Oregon has been unique among the states that promote electric cars.

That's because it created a position within its Department of Transportation for a "Chief EV Officer"--a person charged specifically with overseeing efforts to encourage electric-car adoption.

Ashley Horvat has held that position for the past five years, but she departed April 10 for a different part of the electric-car sphere.

DON"T MISS: Electric-Car Incentive Considered In Oregon: $3,000 "Cash On The Hood"

The former electric-car czar is now vice president of strategic initiatives for PlugShare in California, reports the Portland Business Journal.

State officials haven't publicly discussed a appointing a replacement Chief EV Officer.

Horvat led the development of Oregon's stretch of the West Coast Electric Highway--an effort to build fast-charging stations along a single route from California to the Canadian border.

DC Fast-Charging Stations in Oregon and Washington states, January 2015 [map: PlugShare.com]

DC Fast-Charging Stations in Oregon and Washington states, January 2015 [map: PlugShare.com]

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The Electric Highway's stations are spaced 25 to 50 miles apart along Interstate 5 through both Oregon and Washington.

The last of Oregon's 44 planned stations on the route opened in March.

In addition to the main corridor, Oregon included other routes popular with residents and tourists as well, including coastal Highway 101 and the stretch of Interstate 84 through the Columbia Gorge.

RELATED: West Coast Electric Highway Serves Thousands Of Electric-Car Drivers

Horvat also managed the "Oregon Electric Byways" initiative--an effort to attract electric-car drivers from neighboring states to boost tourism revenues.

Prior to her turn as Chief EV Officer, Horvat spent a total of three years working for the Oregon state government in various capacities on electric-car projects.

Her new executive job at PlugShare--developer of a popular charging station locator app--includes leading a new consulting division, according to her LinkedIn page.

Nissan Leaf electric car at Crater Lake, Oregon [image: C. Bonville Photography]

Nissan Leaf electric car at Crater Lake, Oregon [image: C. Bonville Photography]

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Meanwhile, Oregon officials are considering what could be a crucial measure for electric-car adoption in the state.

A new bill proposes a $1,500 subsidy for the purchase or lease of a new hybrid or plug-in hybrid, and $3,000 for battery-electric or hydrogen fuel-cell cars.

If passed, the incentive program could be implemented as soon as October, and would run through January 1, 2022.

ALSO READ: Electric Cars: Which States Are Doing It Right, Which States Lag? (Dec 2013)

Those incentives could be vital in meeting Oregon's goal--as part of a multi-state coalition--of increasing the share of zero-emission vehicles on its roads to 15 percent by 2025.

To reach that goal, Oregon will have to increase electric-car registrations from around 6,000 today to 300,000 a decade from now.

Perhaps it's time to appoint a new electric-car czar.

[hat tip: Brian Henderson]

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