Illinois EV Fast-Charging Network Plans To Go Big

If you had to guess which U.S. state is doing the most to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles, California or Oregon might be among the most obvious choices. But a recent announcement from Illinois Governor Pat Quinn suggests that the Midwest might provide the West Coast with some stiff competition.

Quinn, along with representatives from the Illinois Tollway, 350Green and 7-Eleven recently announced the availability of 26 new EV fast-charging stations along some of the Chicago area’s busiest highways. With 73 total fast-chargers planned throughout the state, Quinn claims this is the beginning of what will become the largest network of fast-charging electric vehicle stations in the country.

EV Charging Station

Image via NREL

Although there are other state and national EV charging network initiatives in place, the Illinois project would be among the most extensive network of fast-charging stations once complete. The stations, which will be installed at all seven Tollway Oasis locations as well as other high-traffic spots, will charge an electric vehicle in under 30 minutes, according to a recent news release.

The project is funded in part by the state’s $10 million Illinois Jobs Now capital plan and Clean Cities Grant funds that the city of Chicago received through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. Before plugging in to one of the Tollway’s fast-chargers, drivers must purchase a $21 payment card from 350Green, which buys approximately 45 minutes of charging.

Coupled with a $4,000 incentive from the Illinois Alternate Fuels Rebate Program, all involved hope that the network will encourage more drivers to make the switch to plug-in vehicles.

Through this project “the Tollway is taking steps to ensure that electric vehicle drivers on our roadways have the same convenient access to electricity as other drivers have to fuel,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur in a statement.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog

    • We here in Oregon welcome the competition :)-