Summer has started and driving season is in full swing. Some of Washington State’s most awe inspiring destinations can be found on the 440 mile Cascade Loop Highway. The beauty of the Cascades is a magnet for nature lovers, but until recently a lack of charging infrastructure has left the scenic loop out of reach for electric vehicle (EV) drivers.

That changes this summer though, with the completion of an electrification initiative coordinated by Plug-In North Central Washington in partnership with the Cascade Loop Association, local businesses, and several state agencies. The new charging network enables EV drivers to access 4,550 square miles of North Central Washington.

EV drivers can cruise the scenic route on the cheap (the average fuel cost per mile of an electric car in North Central WA is 1 cent — 15 times cheaper than gas).okanagon

At an event in Wenatchee to celebrate the buildout of EV infrastructure, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee called the project “an incredibly important step toward enabling broad adoption of electric vehicles in Washington state,” He added: “We’re seeing… how a cleaner transportation system can help us promote local jobs, rural businesses and clean energy.” In 2013, with 8,000 plug-in EVs on the road, the state set an ambitious goal for the future: 50,000 EVs registered in Washington State by the year 2020.

Businesses have helped lead the charge for expanded EV infrastructure. It’s a win-win for EV travellers looking for a place stop to charge, and the businesses seeking customers to spend time shopping or dining at their establishments. “Businesses within the corridor have been good partners and we appreciate their work,” said Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson. “With electric vehicle charging available along this popular scenic loop, travelers from British Columbia, Portland and Seattle can choose to take their plug in EVs on road trips this summer.”

A recent UC Berkeley study found that spending on electric fuel creates 16 times more jobs than fossil fuels. As WSDOT observes in their EV Action Plan: “Electric vehicle infrastructure is installed locally, creating jobs and economic investment in Washington State.

Plug-In NCW has also partnered with the Cascade Loop Association to provide EV Itineraries that help EV drivers plan trips.

So what are you waiting for? Hop in your electric vehicle and head off for Washington’s beautiful North Cascades. Tell them WaBA sent you!