Chicago Could Become Electric Car Charging Hub

February 14, 2011

The Chicago Auto Show is in town this week.

One type of vehicle that definitely has a presence at the 2011 show is the battery-operated automobile.

It’s a good thing, too, since Chicago motorists interested in owning electric cars will soon have many places to charge them.

electric car being chargedThe city of Chicago has signed a contract to install 280 electric vehicle charging stations in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs by the end of this year.

The $1.9-million contract, which is being covered by state and federal dollars through a grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, was awarded to San Diego-based 350 Green LLC.

350 Green will install, own and operate 73 stations around Chicago that will offer two options:

*The quick charge, which should be able to fully charge an electric vehicle in less than 30 minutes.

*The 220-volt Level 2 charging station, which will charge an electric car in three to eight hours.

The stations will be placed at O’Hare and Midway Airports, at Illinois Tollway plazas, in downtown parking garages and in grocery store parking lots.

Chicago is an ideal area to utilize electric vehicles, considering almost 90 percent of all area commutes are less than 40 miles. Most fully electric cars can go up to 100 miles on a full charge.

There are even plans for some solar charging stations.

Up til now, Chicago has not been a market for the car companies to introduce lines of electric cars. But by next year, we could become the hub for most quick-charging stations in the country.

Now the car companies offering electric and plug-in cars will target Chicagoland, an area overlooked by the auto companies because of our lack of charging stations.

350 Green customers will have two options for payment; a monthly fee and per-use pricing.

Chicago will not make any revenue off the addition of these charging stations, but its environment will definitely reap benefits.

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