Members of the Klamath Falls community and visitors alike will now have access to the fastest, greenest, and first free electric vehicle charging station within 100 miles, thanks to the generosity of an Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech) alumnus, Jim Wegat
October 29, 2015, Klamath Falls, OR – Members of the Klamath Falls community and visitors alike will now have access to the fastest, greenest, and first free electric vehicle charging station within 100 miles, thanks to the generosity of an Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech) alumnus, Jim Wegat. Yesterday, Wegat was joined on campus by Oregon Tech President Chris Maples, Klamath Falls Mayor Todd Kellstrom, and other guests for the official Ribbon Cutting launch of the electric charger. This is the fourth electric charging station in the Klamath Falls area, but the only one that is free to the public, and which offers high speed charging due to its size and power output.
“When Jim Wegat first talked to the Oregon Tech Foundation about donating a charging station, it sounded like a perfect fit with our green, clean energy focus on this campus,” said President Maples. “This community resource is a wonderful complement to Oregon Tech’s goal of 100% renewable energy between our geothermal and solar power resources. It’s also a great fit with our wonderful Klamath Falls community and another spur to the economic health of our city and region and our ability to attract tourism. We thank Jim for the donation of the electric charging station, and his continuing commitment to Oregon Tech and our renewable energy focus.”
Wegat is a Class of 2000 Laser Optical Engineering graduate of Oregon Tech, and the founder of Wegat Optical Consulting, LLC. As an early adopter of electric vehicle technology, four years ago he purchased a Tesla Roadster when it was a challenge to find charging stations on long road trips. With yesterday’s installation, this is the first station on Route 97 between the California border and the Bend area, and the only free one within 100 miles of Klamath Falls. With ten times as many electric cars now on the road, it is easier to find a charging station, but there are still very wide gaps across Oregon and the west.
“Almost 20 years ago I arrived here as a freshmen, up from California, and attracted by the engineering programs, but specifically Oregon Tech’s laser optical engineering program,” said Wegat. “Like many young people I was interested in an education in science and technology, but such an education would have been out of reach financially if not for the generosity of the donors at the Oregon Tech Foundation. My donation of this electric vehicle charger is a small thank you to the community that made it possible for me to receive a world class education.”
Wegat worked with Sun Country Highway to donate and install the electric vehicle charger. They are the sponsor of the longest green highway in the world, and have deployed well over 2,500 charging stations in North America and other parts of the world. Sun Country Highway offers the opportunity for individuals to pay it forward by sponsoring a charging station, in an effort to expand Electric Vehicle adoption around the globe. Wegat generously chose to participate in Sun Country’s program, with the request that the charging station be installed at Oregon Tech’s Klamath Falls campus. Sun Country Highway supplied the high power electric vehicle charger, and Oregon Tech covered installation costs and will be providing no-cost charges to all users.
Mayor Kellstrom thanked Wegat and Sun Country Highway and said, “Today’s young people are telling us what they want in their world: more electric vehicles, fewer hydrocarbons, more bike lanes, open spaces to promote more social interaction, and great educational opportunities, like Oregon Tech. These components, in conjunction with the Blue Zone Project, Klamath Idea, Klamath Works, Klamath Promise and others, will attract more green tourism and investment dollars to improve our economy.”
The Electric Charging Station is available for anyone to use and is located by the parking kiosk at the entrance to Oregon Tech’s Klamath Falls campus. Enter the parking lot at the west end, parking lot is one way. For more information about the Electric Charging Station, please contact Katie Cavendish at 541-885-0844. The Oregon Tech Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that promotes and funds the educational, cultural, charitable, and service functions of the Oregon Institute of Technology.