December 15, 2011

Chicago Transit to add electric vehicle charging stations

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) received approval to install electric vehicle charging equipment at one of the agency's Park & Ride lots adjacent to its Brown Line Kimball stop station — the first such charging facilities at a CTA station.

Four charging stations will serve vehicles used by Chicago car-sharing services I-Go and Zipcar, both of which are expanding their fleets to include electric vehicles.

The I-Go installation also includes a solar canopy, which will generate some of the electricity used for the two I-Go charging stations.

“CTA has long supported initiatives that reduce emissions and promote sustainability — two main goals of the transit services we offer,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “Car sharing is a great complement to public transit.”

The Level 2 charging stations — which can fully charge a car in 4 to 8 hours, on average — are funded through a U.S. Department of Energy grant and city sources. Through the grant agreement, Los Angeles-based 350Green is installing 280 electric vehicle charging stations throughout the Chicago area. Sixty-one of those are for use by I-Go and Zipcar.

The solar canopy, funded by state grants and the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, will be 36 feet wide and nearly 22 feet deep, covering an area of about four parking spaces. The canopy, which incorporates multiple solar panels, will be the first of its kind at a CTA facility.

The charging stations and canopy are expected to be installed by late January 2012.

The board also approved three additional parking spaces at Kimball/Lawrence, two for Zipcar and one for I-Go.   I-Go and Zipcar currently lease a total of 65 parking spaces at CTA rail stations or on nearby CTA-owned property.

The addition of the charging stations marks the latest effort by CTA to promote car-sharing services as a complement to public transit. CTA began working with both I-Go and Zipcar shortly after both providers entered the market, and in 2009 launched the Chicago Card Plus/I-GO Card, which can be used to ride CTA and access I-Go vehicles.

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