Winery to offer car charging station

PESHASTIN -- You're cruising east on Highway 2 this spring in your brand new electric-powered Nissan Leaf and the charge meter begins to dip. What do you do?

If you're in the Peshastin area, pull into Icicle Ridge Winery, plug in for a charge, take a tour and savor a leisurely glass of Cabernet Sauvignon ice wine.

The winery is one of six area businesses or public centers hoping to plug into the tourism potential of a state plan to make Interstate 5 and part of Highway 2 friendly for electric cars.

The others are:

-- Stevens Pass Ski Area

-- Sleeping Lady Resort, Leavenworth

-- Springhill Suites by Marriott

-- Wenatchee Convention Center

-- Town Toyota Center

The businesses will install 240-volt "Level II" charging stations capable of topping off an electric car's battery in a couple of hours. A full charge would take about four hours.

The winery has tentative plans for an even faster charging station in the future.

The charger will be installed by April at a cost of between $2,000 and $4,000, paid for entirely by the winery, he said. The state departments of Commerce and Transportation are teaming up this year to spend $1.32 million in federal stimulus money to create the "Electric Highway."

The state will partner with private companies to install fast-charging stations every 40 to 60 miles along the I-5 corridor from the Canadian border south to Oregon.

The state announced Wednesday that it will use $200,000 of that money to install two or three charging stations along the Highway 2 "scenic byway" between Seattle and Stevens Pass.

This will give electric car owners a route to tourism and recreation destinations in the heart of North Central Washington.