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Curb side, on-street EV charging comes to Chicago.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Urban dwellers are good candidates to purchase or lease an all-electric vehicle, that is, a battery-electric vehicle or BEV. Why? They don’t typically drive many miles in their daily personal routine. The ability to charge the vehicle’s battery is all important. The situation is especially acute for dense communities where potential BEV owners may live in apartment or condominium complexes and are not able to install home chargers in a garage or are even unable to afford them.

Carla Bailo, President and CEO of the Center for Automotive Research pointed out we need solutions for MUDs (multi-unit dwellings) and urban dwellers. Extension cords running from houses or apartments across sidewalks to street parking in urban areas isn’t workable.

Illinois has as an objective to have 1,000,000 EVs on the road by 2030. The City of Chicago alone today has over 1.6 million passenger vehicles registered to residents. Today there are approximately 6,800 EVs registered to Chicagoans.

The U.S. Departments of Transportation and Energy announced nearly $5 billion will be made available under the new National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program established by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to build out a national electric vehicle charging network.

The objective is to have 500,000 charging outlets across the country by 2030. Today there are nearly 124,000 public EV charging outlets located in over 49,000 stations.

Illinois electric utility provider ComEd has collaborated with the U.S. Department of Energy to help Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood identify and install chargers around MUDs. ComEd officially submitted its plan to support the adoption of beneficial electrification technologies to the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), setting up potential commitments of up to $100 million per year over the next three years.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Very recently, ComEd unveiled a new curb side on-street EV charging station in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood. The free (for now) charging station is the first of five to be installed in the area aimed to support residents of Multi-Unit Dwellings such as a condo or apartment.

The charger is currently free to the public and can be accessed by downloading an app like EV Connect. It is one of five chargers to be located across Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood. It is part of the U.S. DOE grant to collect usage and frequency information to help inform the location of future EV charging stations and help companies understand usage patterns and determine how to set rates for other chargers.

ComEd is continuing to work with the city and community leaders to finalize the remaining locations in hopes that some – if not all – can be installed by the end of the year. Locations near MUDs are definitely be considered. Should assistance with MUD buildings with on-site multi-vehicle parking become an opportunity, ComEd says it will certainly consider how it can support.

U.S. Bureau of the Census American Housing Survey says 63% of all occupied housing units have a garage or carport. Garages and carports often have access to electricity for parked vehicles and to allow for the installation of an electric vehicle charger. What about those homes with no individual garage? We need to provide charging solutions for those who park in a large multi-vehicle garage, in a parking lot or even on the street.

© 2022 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy