Imagine what a city totally switched onto electric cars would be like. Discount parking, HOV lane access and perhaps even free charging is what might come to mind.  

But just how many chargers should you expect in a city switching on to the benefits of all-electric motoring?  200? 600? 1000?

Washington state may soon become the model state for any area wishing to support electric vehicles, with the largest roll-out of electric vehicle charging stations the U.S. has seen. 

If you live in the greater Seattle and Olympia metro areas you’ll soon find over 1,200, thanks to a joint project between local government, utility companies and ECOtality, makers of the Blink range of electric vehicle charging stations. 

Announced last week, ECOtality, Inc. aims to install 1,200 Level 2 charging stations along the Puget Sound coastline, and 22 high-power DC fast charge stations, capable of charging cars like the 2011 Nissan Leaf from empty to 80% full in under 30 minutes. 

But why Washington and not California, where electric vehicle companies like Tesla and Coda are based?

ECOtality Blink DC fast charger plugged in

ECOtality Blink DC fast charger plugged in

As ECOtality’s CEO puts it, “The Puget Sound area is known for embracing new technologies and we are excited to work with Nissan and our area EV Project partners to ensure the region is at the forefront of EV adoption”. 

Not only does the Puget sound benefit from a forward thinking Governor in the form of Washington State’s Chris Gregoire, but the area is a mere stones-throw away from Microsoft’s Redmond headquarters, where many employees already enjoy plug-in hybrids and other electric cars as daily drivers. 

What does this mean for electric car owners in the greater Seattle area? 

Apart from the environmental kudos to the state, anyone living within a 100 mile radius of Seattle should be able to commute to work daily without the fear of suffering range anxiety, with 22 fast-charge stations offering a quick recharge while you have lunch or visit a local coffee shop. 

ECOtality charge station design by Mark Lee Johnston

ECOtality charge station design by Mark Lee Johnston

For those living closer to the state capitol, level 2 chargers offer a convenient way to gain between ten and twenty miles of range per hour parked, depending on the car and its individual state of charge. 

With so many chargers installed in a relatively small area, we’re now struggling to justify why anyone in the Seattle area would even need to own a gasoline car any more. 

Will this kind of mass EV infrastructure development happen elsewhere? ECOtaily certainly hope so. Its EV-Project is already spearheading other areas in the U.S. for a similarly intensive treatment, installing EV-friendly infrastructure on an unprecedented level, offering charging at gas-stations and Best Buy outlets to name just two prime locations to juice up.