North America's first public-use quick-charge station opens in Portland: 3-handed politician not included

What's being hailed as North America's first public-use quick-charge station for electric vehicles has just been unveiled in Portland. The station, built by NEC subsidiary Takasago, is installed in a PGE headquarters parking garage and will charge electric vehicles with lithium-ion batteries to 80% in about 20 to 30 minutes. So yeah, it's public, as long as you've got a PGE badge apparently. Anyway, the grand opening was led by Governor Ted Kulongoski, pictured above carefully maintaining a safe distance while charging a Nissan Leaf. Guess you can never be too careful when pumping 50kW into a pre-production vehicle. Click through to see a video demonstration of the future, if we're lucky.

Update: We're being told that the quick charge station is installed in a public parking garage that is part of the World Trade Center building in downtown Portland (where PGE's headquarters are). It costs $3 to park, but charging is on the house. Thanks, Chris!

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Portland General Electric opens North America's first public-use quick-charge station for electric vehicles in collaboration with NEC Electric vehicles can charge up in 20 to 30 minutes

*** For immediate use August 5, 2010

PORTLAND, Ore. - Portland General Electric (NYSE: POR), Oregon's largest utility, and NEC Corporation (NEC; TSE: 6701), a leading network, communications and information technology company, announced today they have opened North America's first public-use, quick-charge station for electric vehicles.

The station was awarded public-use certification by the City of Portland following the successful installation and testing of the station manufactured by Takasago Ltd., a subsidiary of NEC, at the PGE headquarters in the Two World Trade Center parking garage, 121 SW Salmon St, Portland, Ore. The Takasago Rapid Charging Station is specialized for recharging electric vehicles with lithium-ion batteries and requires only 20 to 30 minutes to recharge a battery to 80 percent of full strength.
PGE and NEC officially opened the quick-charge station today with Governor Ted Kulongoski, who charged up an all-electric Nissan LEAF, during a two-day LEAF test drive event at PGE. Portland and the state of Oregon have been designated as top-tier launch markets for the Nissan LEAF when it goes on sale in the United States in December.

"Quick-charging stations are an exciting advancement in our effort to bring electric vehicles to Oregon," said Gov. Kulongoski. "By making charging convenient and available for public use, we are telling car manufacturers that Oregon is ready for the next generation of electric vehicles - and we want our state to be a leader in introducing these cars to the rest of the country."

"Partnering with NEC to bring the nation's first publicly available, quick-charge station to Oregon further solidifies PGE's commitment to developing the infrastructure needed to support electric vehicles now coming to the U.S. market," said Jim Piro, president and CEO, PGE.

"With the addition of the Takasago Rapid Charging Station to the growing network of EV charging stations in Oregon, we are able to further our research on how this new technology will interact with our electrical system and support our EV-driving customers," Piro added.

"This project reflects NEC's ongoing commitment to the development of new infrastructure that utilizes renewable resources. As a supplier of electric vehicle batteries, our introduction of the rapid electric vehicle charging station is a natural stage in the evolution of NEC's environmentally friendly solutions," said Hideki Niwaya, general manager, Public Utility Solutions Division, NEC. "Looking forward, NEC aims to continue developing mission critical solutions, including information and communications technologies (ICT) services and smart grids that represent the latest in technological innovation."

The Takasago Rapid Charging Station complies with the "CHAdeMO," a global EV charging standard developed in Japan. The station provides power output of 50kw (50-500V, 0-125A) and supports power input of AC200V+-30V.

PGE's alliance partner, Portland State University, and the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium will document the acquisition, installation, certification, and testing procedures for this quick charger and release its findings in September.