Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and representatives from the Illinois Tollway, 350Green LLC and 7-Eleven Inc. announced plans to create the nation's largest network of fast-charging electric vehicle stations.
Illinois is planning 280 electric charging stations in the state, including stations at Tollway Oases.
Illinois is planning 280 electric charging stations in the state, including stations at Tollway Oases.
Motorists can now charge an electric car or light-duty truck in less than 30 minutes using fast-chargers at 7-Eleven sites at four Tollway Oasis locations, and they will soon be able to charge vehicles at all seven of the Chicago area's Tollway Oases.

Through the Chicago-Area EV Infrastructure Project, 26 fast-chargers have already been installed, with 73 total fast-chargers planned. Eight of these are in 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.

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 City of Chicago is overseeing the project's installation of 280 charging stations overall to increase accessibility to EV charging. EV stations are being installed mostly in areas with dense residential and worker populations and in high-traffic areas.

"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," says Karen Weigert, chief sustainability officer for the City of Chicago."

The 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 of 2009. The project is one of several initiatives now under way in Illinois to promote the adoption and use of electric vehicles.

In addition, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency offers the Illinois Alternate Fuels Rebate Program, which provides a rebate of up to $4,000 toward EV purchases to any individual, business, local government unit, school or organization in the state.

The only electric truck that qualifies for the rebate is the Ford/Azure Transit Connect Electric. In addition, E85 (85% ethanol blend) fuel vehicles, E85 Flexible Fuel vehicles, natural gas vehicles, propane vehicles, biodiesel fuel vehicles (at least 20% blend or greater) and hydrogen vehicles qualify.

An eligible fleet applicant can only receive rebates for a maximum of 300 alternate fuel vehicles during the lifetime of the program, or for no more than 150 alternate fuel vehicles at any one location

The Illinois Commerce Commission also launched a Plug-in Electric Vehicle Initiative to explore regulatory issues related to EV deployment.