The nation’s largest network of fast-charging electric vehicle (EV) stations was recently made available in the State of Illinois.

Governor of Illinois Pat Quinn, along with representatives of the Illinois Tollway, 350Green and 7-Eleven announced that motorists traveling through the state can charge EVs in less than 30 minutes using the current fast-chargers at 7-Eleven sites at four Tollway Oases locations. Motorists will soon be available to charge vehicles at all seven Tollway Oases.

As part of Quinn’s commitment to increasing sustainability across the state, the initiative will support the use of electric vehicles, as well as create jobs in sustainable transportation.

“We want Illinois to be the greenest state in America,” 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.”

charging station

Installing EV charging across Illinois is just one of the initiatives underway to increase the adoption of and use of electric vehicles. Credit: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Throughout the Chicago area, 26 fast-chargers have been installed, and 47 more have been planned through the EV Infrastructure Project. For those interested in visiting the EV charging stations, eight of these chargers are currently in place at Tollway Oases along the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) at the De 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 availability to EV charging. With a budget of $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 18 jobs and its construction will support 8,500 labor hours.

“This project is an excellent example of Mayor (Rahm) Emmanuel’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 with 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 the value to taxpayers.”

Co-founder and CEO of 350Green Mariana Gerzanych added, “With this announcement, the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois have the largest and most advanced fast-charging EV infrastructure in the United States. Whether or not you’re at the mall, a drug store or now the open road, electric vehicle drivers can take comfort in knowing a charging station will be just around the corner.”

Drivers must purchase a payment card from 350Green before plugging in to a fast-charger. The $21 card provides three 15-minute charging sessions.

“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,” said 7-Eleven Market Manager Tim Hale. “Now we offer the most advanced charging technology to people driving the most advanced vehicles.”

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