Rise in electric cars calls for more charging stations to be built in Tri-Cities

Tesla charging station in Kennewick.

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- The Tri-Cities is seeing more electric cars registered in the region but with more tourists needing to plug in as well, are there enough charging stations?

Robin Rego of Energy Northwest is steering the way on a project that could bring two to three more electric charging stations each to Pasco, Kennewick and Richland.

"This is an area relatively under served compared to the West side of the state," said Rego.

It's called the EVITA project which stands for Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Transportation Alliance, organized by the Mid-Columbia Energy Initiative.

The alliance is formed by Benton and Franklin utilities, Richland utility and Energy Northwest.

The goal is to seek grants and federal funding for charging stations to be built here in the Tri-Cities.

The Tesla station at Fred Meyer in Kennewick is one of 18 stations in the Tri-Cities.

One driver of a car was making a road trip from Arizona.

What the Evita project will do is build more destination chargers in front of businesses and restaurants to attract more tourists.

"The area would benefit from the economic advantages of more people coming to the area for tourism," said Rego.

From 2013 to 2014 there was a 63 percent increase in electric cars rolling through Benton and Franklin Counties.

Last year another 52 percent, resulting in a total of more than 200 electric vehicles in the area. And Rego says the trend will continue.

"Electric vehicle use is going to grow and how are we going to be able to make that happen unless we build more of this infrastructure. We believe we will build it and they will come," said Rego.

To find all 18 charging stations in the Tri-Cities, not including home-based stations, here is the link.

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