Standing in front of a fast-charging station at the Chicago Auto Show, Gov. Pat Quinn called on automakers to bring electric vehicles to the state in light of charging infrastructure planned for the Chicago area.
“We’re going to have electric vehicles galore in the state of Illinois,” he said. “We want to be the nation’s capital for electric vehicles.”
In announcing that Chicago has signed a contract to have 280 charging stations installed in the area, Quinn said the infrastructure will go a long way toward making the state’s environmental goals a reality.
He called on Nissan, Chevy and other plug-in vehicle manufacturers to bring their cars to Illinois, which will have the largest number of fast-charging stations in the country once the $8.8 million project is complete. Only Ford has announced Chicago as an initial city for its electric vehicles.
Nissan has said it expects to rollout nationwide in 2012. A spokesman said this week that the charging infrastructure announcement has not changed its timeline to bring electric vehicles to Chicago.
Mariana Gerzanych, chief executive of 350Green LLC, the San Diego company awarded the approximately $2 million contract — half federal and half state money — said it is mapping a strategy that includes installing the stations where people park for longer periods of time.
“We start with: ‘How do people drive? Where do people park? How long do they stay there?’” she said.
That strategy also means working with Commonwealth Edison Co. to ensure that the electrical grid can handle the fast-charging stations.
Dan Gabel, ComEd’s manager of electric vehicles, said demand from 73 DC Quick Charge stations, which can charge a vehicle in less than 30 minutes, is significantly more than from Level 2 (240 volt) charging stations, which can take four to eight hours to charge. He equated the requirements for each charging station to those needed to support a shop in a strip mall. Depending on the charging station site, the costs to upgrade electrical equipment could be borne by the site owner or by ComEd customers, he said, and those costs would vary from site to site.