Oregon Builds a Statewide Electric Vehicle Charging Network

Mitsubishi Motors North America today became the second auto-maker to commit to helping Oregon build a statewide electric vehicle charging network.

Shinichi Kurihara, CEO of Mitsubishi Motors North America, announced the partnership this morning during an address at the New York International Auto Show, where it showcased the plug-in electric i-MiEV, which stands for Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle.

The partnership means Mitsubishi will lend its input to the state’s efforts to employ vehicle charging stations.

The state received formed an earlier partnership with fellow Japanese auto-makers Nissan, which on Monday brought to Portland a prototype of its electric-drive vehicle technology, which it hopes to market in 2010.

Oregon has drawn similar interest from other automakers.

Last summer, Toyota Motor Corp. said it would put four electric RAV4 vehicles in Portland for use by Portland State University as shuttle vehicles.

BYD Co., a Chinese battery and auto manufacturer, has considered Oregon as a test market for its electric vehicles.

On Tuesday, Norwegian auto-maker Think announced that Oregon is one of eight states it is considering for a manufacturing plant for its plug-in electric Think city.

“Oregon welcomes the partnership with Mitsubishi as we transition to the next generation in vehicle technology. Together, we can build a consistent and reliable infrastructure so Oregonians can make the switch seamlessly to electric vehicles,” Gov. Ted Kulongoski said in a news release. “The partnership shows that a state can create opportunity for its commitment to a greener future — wins for our economy and our environment.”

The state Department of Transportation last week issued a first-of-its kind solicitation for manufacturers of electric charging stations. The idea is to use the state as a central clearinghouse for charging station manufacturing in order to avoid deployment of competing technologies.

Also part of the electric vehicle partnership is Portland General Electric Co., which has already deployed more than a dozen charging stations across the Portland metro area and Salem.