Advanced Vehicle Innovations (AVI) consortium

In 2005 the Port of Chelan County convened over a dozen public and private entities in North Central Washington to form the Advanced Vehicle Innovations (AVI) consortium. Its purpose: to explore emergent technologies for powering vehicles with electricity from the grid; identify associated economic opportunities that could be realistically developed in the region; and facilitate activities to bring those opportunities to fruition.

Key to the Port’s rationale for launching this activity was its recognition of an exceptional local asset: a robust supply of low-cost, clean, renewable hydroelectricity generated by several nearby publicly-owned dams on the Columbia River.

PluginCenter

In 2006, AVI consortium members designed and launched, with the Port as lead, the ‘PluginCenter’ project. Its objective: to establish North Central Washington as a unique center for research, development, demonstrations, information, education, and community-wide deployment of electrified vehicles. The consortium endeavors to accomplish this by coordinating the provision of:

  • Attractive, interesting exhibits and real-world demonstrations of electrified vehicles and related infrastructure
  • Multiple points of access to electric vehicle experiences for local citizens, visitors, tourists, business groups, and conferees
  • Education and training workshops for the public, technicians, businesses, fleets, educators, electricians, first responders, and students
  • Networking opportunities for innovators, entrepreneurs, and investors
  • Assistance to expedite development of a business in the EV sector, e.g., conversions; research and development; component manufacturing; etc.
  • Charging station deployment guidance for local communities
  • Vehicle-acquisition evaluation and consolidator services for public and private organizations
  • A website to engage public conversation about the exciting activities and developing community vision for electrifying transportation in North Central Washington

Accomplishments

Following are some of the key accomplishments of the consortium and/or individual members that have contributed to the PluginCenter’s growing reputation:

Activities coming up in 2011

PluginCenter activities for the first year of the new decade will focus on the following:

  • Installation of a public/private network of electric vehicle charging stations connecting three small cities in North Central Washington with the growing EV-driving population in the Greater Seattle Area
  • Planning and coordinating high-profile events, conferences, and educational programs that will attract for the visitor and convention business, lodgings, and dining facilities
  • Testing and evaluating the market appeal and economics of utilizing electrified vehicles as transport for visitors/tourists/conference attendees/airport shuttles
  • A variety of developing projects centered on the transfer of electric vehicle technology to agricultural equipment and recreation
  • The introduction of five 22-passenger state-of-art fast charge trolley buses into Wenatchee by the region’s public transit district, LINK, four of which will be in use constantly on active routes
  • Launching the 2011 PowerUp! Workshop series, focused on charging stations; electrification of agricultural equipment; conversions; and EV technology applications for fleets