Illinois gets federal boost for electric vehicle charging network

The state of Illinois has received a $7.1 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration to improve the reliability and accessibility of electric vehicle chargers across the state. The grant will help the state achieve its goal of having one million electric vehicles on the road by 2030.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced on Wednesday that it has been awarded the grant through the Electric Vehicle Charger Reliability and Accessibility Program. The grant will be used to repair, replace or upgrade an estimated 93 Level 2 ports and 34 Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC) ports at various locations throughout the state. A complete list of the locations can be found on IDOT’s website.

Illinois gets federal boost for electric vehicle charging network
Illinois gets federal boost for electric vehicle charging network

Level 2 ports can charge an electric vehicle in four to six hours, while DCFC ports can charge an electric vehicle in 20 to 30 minutes. Both types of ports are available to the public and can be accessed through payment or membership systems.

IDOT Secretary Omer Osman said the investment will help to improve the public charging infrastructure, which is essential for increasing the adoption of electric vehicles. “Under Gov. Pritzker, IDOT is committed to modernizing transportation and expanding green practices. This award is an important step in that direction,” Osman said in a press release.

Illinois aims for 1 million electric vehicles by 2030

The grant for EV charging infrastructure is part of the state’s efforts to transition to a clean energy future. In 2021, Gov. JB Pritzker signed the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, which sets a target of 100% clean energy by 2045. The act also includes incentives and programs to support the deployment of electric vehicles and the development of the EV industry in Illinois.

One of the goals of the act is to have one million electric vehicles on the road in Illinois by 2030. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there were about 40,000 electric vehicles registered in Illinois as of 2020. To reach the goal, the state needs to increase the number of electric vehicles by 25 times in the next nine years.

Elizabeth Irvin, the deputy director in IDOT’s Office of Planning and Programming, said having reliable and accessible public charging is a key factor for achieving the goal. “A lot of people are worried if they buy a car, are they going to be able to charge if they are out and about? Are they making a long distance trip? So, this charging infrastructure is really important for people’s peace of mind and getting those EVs on the road is really important for reducing emissions, both greenhouse emissions as well as air pollution,” Irvin said in an interview with FOX 2.

Illinois expands charging network with more funding and partnerships

The $7.1 million grant is not the only source of funding for expanding the EV charging network in Illinois. Last week, Gov. Pritzker announced that the Illinois Finance Authority will receive $14.9 million to support the construction of new charging stations as part of the State of Illinois Community Charging Program. The program aims to expand the network statewide, fill in gaps and provide better service to disadvantaged communities.

In addition, the state is partnering with other agencies and organizations to build and maintain the charging infrastructure. IDOT is administering the state’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program, which is expected to release the first notice of funding opportunity in early 2024. The program will provide grants to local governments, businesses and nonprofits to install charging stations on public or private property.

The state is also collaborating with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, the Illinois Commerce Commission, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation and other stakeholders to coordinate and plan the EV charging network. The state is also a member of the Midwest EVOLVE project, which is a partnership of eight Midwestern states to promote electric vehicles and educate consumers and fleets.

Illinois is one of the leading states in the nation in terms of EV charging infrastructure. According to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, Illinois has 1,050 public charging stations with 2,431 outlets as of January 2024. The state ranks seventh in the nation in terms of the number of charging stations and ninth in terms of the number of outlets.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *