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Illinois Rolls Out Nation's Largest Electric Vehicle Fast-Charging Network


Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and representatives from the Illinois Tollway, 350Green and 7-Eleven today announced the availability of the nation's largest network of fast-charging electric vehicle (EV) stations. As part of Governor Quinn's commitment to increasing sustainability across Illinois, the initiative will support the use of electric vehicles and create jobs in sustainable transportation. Motorists can charge an electric vehicle in under 30 minutes using the current fast-chargers at 7-Eleven sites at four Tollway Oasis locations, and will soon be able to charge vehicles at all seven Tollway Oases.

"We want Illinois to be the greenest state in America," Governor Quinn said. "By installing the largest network of cutting edge fast-chargers, Illinois will continue to support green jobs and provide people with environmentally-friendly and affordable travel options."

Through the Chicago-Area EV Infrastructure Project, 26 fast-chargers have been installed, with 73 total fast-chargers planned. Eight of these are currently in place at Tollway Oases along the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) at the Des Plaines Oasis and on the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80) at the Lake Forest Oasis, O'Hare Oasis and Chicago Southland Lincoln Oasis. The installations, managed by 350Green, were performed by Chicago-based JNS Power & Control Systems.

"Today, 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. "At the same time, we are continuing our commitment to ‘clean and green' technology and making the Tollway a leader in environmental sustainability."

The City of Chicago is overseeing the project's installation of 280 charging stations overall to increase accessibility to EV charging. With a budget of $8.8 million, including $1.9 million in public funding and $6.9 million in private investment, EV stations are being installed mostly in areas with dense residential and worker populations and in high-traffic areas. The overall EV infrastructure project has created approximately 18 jobs and its construction will support 8,500 labor hours.

"This project is an excellent example of Mayor Emanuel's commitment to promoting sustainability throughout the city of Chicago, while maximizing the positive economic impacts and job creation of these efforts," said Karen Weigert, Chief Sustainability Officer at the City of Chicago. "This project represents one of the largest concentrations of fast-charging stations in the world, and is an outstanding example of private investment optimizing value to taxpayers."

"With this announcement, the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois have the largest and most advanced fast-charging EV infrastructure in the U.S.," said Mariana Gerzanych, co-founder and CEO of 350Green. "Whether you are at a mall, a drugstore or now on the open road, electric vehicle drivers can take comfort in knowing a charging station will be just around the corner."

Partnerships with charging station hosts such as 7-Eleven have been key to the rollout of the network across the state. 7-Eleven convenience stores at four of the Illinois Tollway Oases now have dedicated space for fast-charging stations.

"Our support for electric vehicle charging stations is a perfect fit with our commitment to providing travelers with the things that make their trip more enjoyable – whether it's our coffee, energy drinks or variety of fresh food products we offer at our stores," said 7-Eleven Market Manager Tim Hale. "Now we offer the most advanced charging technology to people driving the most advanced vehicles."

Before plugging in to one of the Tollway's fast-chargers, drivers must purchase a payment card from 350Green. The $21 card includes three 15-minute sessions at fast-charging stations.

The Chicago-Area EV Infrastructure Project is funded in part by the state's 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. The project is one of several initiatives now underway in Illinois to promote the adoption and use of electric vehicles.

The Illinois Jobs Now! plan includes up to $10 million in capital funding for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to award EV manufacturing and infrastructure incentives, which will begin rolling out this spring. In July 2011, Governor Quinn signed the Electric Vehicle Act to form the Illinois Electric Vehicle Advisory Council, a group of public- and private-sector electric vehicle stakeholders collaborating to develop policies and programs that support EVs.

In addition, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) offers the Illinois Alternate Fuels Rebate Program, which provides a rebate of up to $4,000 toward EV purchases. The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) also launched a Plug-in Electric Vehicle Initiative (PEV) Initiative to explore regulatory issues related to EV deployment.





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