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News / Northwest

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee travels to Europe and meets with officials at Porsche and other companies

By Ellen Dennis , The Spokesman-Review
Published: May 29, 2024, 8:24am

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee flew to Germany over the weekend for a three-day work trip to learn about electric cars before he embarks on a 10-day European vacation with his wife.

The governor left the country on Saturday, his office confirmed Tuesday afternoon. A governor’s office spokesman said he wasn’t sure if the trip abroad was paid for with state dollars.

“Any of his official business would be eligible for that,” Mike Faulk wrote in a text message. “Sometimes these trips are covered by a combination of funding sources, however.” He said an office staff member with that information was traveling in Germany with Inslee.

On Monday, Inslee met with executives of Porsche at the car company’s Stuttgart manufacturing facility, Faulk said in an email. There, Inslee reportedly toured the assembly lines for both Porsche 912 and the battery-electric Taycan car and met with Porsche CEO Oliver Blume.

Inslee traveled to Zurich on Tuesday to meet with executives of Synhelion, a Swiss firm that produces solar-generated transportation fuels.

On Wednesday, the governor is reportedly scheduled to meet with executives at ABB, an automotive research company that sold the state electric vehicle charging stations, including the one that powers Spokane’s electric bus fleet.

“ABB plays an active role on the state’s Electric Vehicle workgroups,” the governor’s office spokesperson said. “ABB is also a potential contractor for the five new-build hybrid-electric ferry boats. The meeting will also focus on further opportunities for clean energy partnership, including on fuel cells and utility-scale grid.”

Also on Wednesday’s agenda, the governor is scheduled to meet with executives at Hitachi Zosen Inova AG, a Japanese-Swiss firm to discuss their green hydrogen production facilities and waste-to-energy technologies.

Beginning Thursday, Inslee will begin a vacation with his wife, Trudi. The couple is scheduled to spend the first part of their vacation in Switzerland and then spend another few days in the south of France before returning to the United States on June 8.

Lt. Gov. Denny Heck will serve as Washington’s governor until Inslee returns.