Illinois town expands public charging to meet demand


It seems everyone has a story about an underutilized public charging station in their neighborhood. It’s an unfortunate fact that, of the over 7,500 public chargers in the US, many were installed by local governments that had no idea how to go about selecting an appropriate location (the parking lot at city hall is usually not optimal).

However, the city of Naperville, Illinois is dealing with the opposite problem. Its sole charging station, which went into service in 2012, has proven so popular that the city will be installing an additional two dual stations to meet demand.

The city provided charging free of charge for a year in order to study usage, which turned out to be heavy, according to Caitlin Marcon, a project manager for the city. “The city received a number of complaints that many times a vehicle owner would come to downtown Naperville, and the station would already be in use,” she said. “Electric car owners would have to find elsewhere to park and wait around to get a charge before heading back home.”

Even since the city started charging a fee of $1.50 per hour, demand has been steady, both from residents and visitors. “We found that electric charging stations users generally come from outside the area to dine and shop in Naperville,” Marcon said.

There are more than 12,000 EVs on the roads in Illinois, according to Kim Biggs with the Illinois EPA. The state provides a rebate to buyers of 10 percent of the MSRP, up to $4,000.

Source: Naperville Sun

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