Eaton's Wilsonville plant focuses on EV chargers
By Erik Siemers, Portland Business Journal
Portland Business Journal
Boyd Westover, Eaton
Eaton Corp., a Cleveland-based maker of power management products with nearly $12 billion in annual revenue, has selected its 85-person plant in Wilsonville to lead the roll-out of its new quick-charging stations for electric cars.
"We feel this is going to be a big thing in the Northwest," said Boyd Westover, manager of the Wilsonville plant.
The net economic impact of the move remains unclear. The charging stations initially will be made elsewhere and then modified to customer demands in Wilsonville. Initially, Westover doesn’t expect the work to require new hiring.
But to proponents of building an electric vehicle industry in Oregon, the decision is yet another sign that the state's focus on the sector could pay off.
"They're taking a step further than I think a lot of other companies that are looking at Oregon and the region," said John Thornton, a founding member of Drive Oregon, a nonprofit group formed earlier this year to promote the growth of an electric vehicle industry. "It's an early-adopter market. They're taking it a step further and looking at establishing local manufacturing and a local presence."
The Wilsonville plant was chosen to begin rolling out the quick chargers thanks largely to Oregon’s status as an early hub for electric car roll-outs. So far, the market has been led by startups such as Coloumb Technologies and ECOtality, the San Francisco-based company leading the federally fund EV Project to roll out charging station infrastructure across six states, including Oregon.
Two months ago, BP Products North America Inc. announced plans to install up to 1,000 chargers at BP and Arco gas stations along the Interstate 5 corridor. Just last week, Nissan delivered its first all-electric Leaf vehicle to its first Oregon customer during an event at Tonkin Wilsonville Nissan.
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