Portland General Electric, Oregon's largest utility, and NEC Corp. , a leading network, communications and information technology company, announced they have opened North America's first public-use, quick-charge station for electric vehicles (EVs).

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 in Portland, Ore. The Takasago Rapid Charging Station is specialized for recharging EVs with lithium-ion batteries and requires only 20 to 30 minutes to recharge a battery to 80% of full strength.

PGE and NEC officially opened the quick-charge station with Gov. 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 EVs 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 EVs — 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 EVs 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."

"This project reflects NEC's ongoing commitment to the development of new infrastructure that utilizes renewable resources," said Hideki Niwaya, general manager, Public Utility Solutions Division, NEC. "As a supplier of EV batteries, our introduction of the rapid EV charging station is a natural stage in the evolution of NEC's environmentally friendly solutions. 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 (50V-500V, 0A-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.