Nissan is turning over a new leaf this fall in Chicagoland, rolling out its new all-electric Leaf sooner than expected. The company attributes the move to “strong consumer demand … supported by plans that include an extensive electric car charging network in Chicago and surrounding suburbs in the coming year.” Or, in plain English: They’re doing it because Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has announced an investment of $1 million in capital funding to install charging infrastructure for electric cars throughout the Chicago area, matching an additional $1 million in Clean Cities Grant funding secured by the city of Chicago.
Due to this mutual investment, Chicagoland will gain a network of 280 electric vehicle charging stations, and that, coupled with the state of Illinois’ current rebate on electric and alternative technology vehicles (up to $4,000) – not to mention that nice $7,500 federal tax credit – stands to make the Nissan Leaf very attractive indeed to residents of the Land of Lincoln.
“Nissan’s entry into the Chicago market is exactly what the city had in mind when we developed our EV infrastructure plan,” said Karen Weigert, Chicago’s chief Sustainability officer, in a statement. “With the 40 Level 2 charging stations to date already installed, Chicago is well on its way to having the most robust EV infrastructure in the nation.”
Chicago, working with 350Green, has spearheaded an EV infrastructure plan calling for 73 DC quick-charging stations and 207 Level 2 stations to be installed at public parking garages, grocery stores, tollway oases, etc. by the end of 2o11. When complete, the network is expected to comprise the most extensive charging infrastructure in any U.S. city.
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