Evanston city officials say electric car charging stations will be installed in three public parking lots starting next week.

Planning for the I-Go Car Sharing solar canopies and charging stations began in last October after the City Council approved location for three stations.

The solar canopies and charging stations will allow I-Go to add low emission electric vehicles to their fleet of cars available for rental. Each solar canopy will occupy a total of four parking spaces.

I-Go has agreed to pay a monthly lease for the two vehicles at each parking lot; the remaining two spots will be available to the public for electric vehicle charging.

“Transportation emissions are the third largest contributor of greenhouse gases in the community and the I-Go car sharing program helps to reduce emissions, congestion on the road and parking demands,” said Catherine Hurley, the city’s sustainable programs coordinator.

The charging stations will be located in lots at Central Street and Stewart Avenue, on Chicago Avenue near the downtown library and on Hinman Avenue south of Main Street.

Construction is expected to take about six weeks.

I-Go has eleven vehicles in Evanston, and residents are able to rent a car whenever the need arises. The addition of electric vehicles to I-Go’s car sharing program will allow Evanston to have cars in the community that have a lower carbon footprint.

Each charging station includes solar charging capabilities that power two electric vehicles. The electricity produced by these canopies amounts to about 200,000 kilowatt-hours annually and will power up to 600,000 miles driven every year.

The car sharing services that will be provided by I-Go are backed by several grants, including one from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation.

The U.S. Department of Energy cites electrically powered vehicles as energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

Join the Conversation


  1. Free?

    Typical rates elsewhre, if you can find a charger, are $2 to $3 for a 2 to 3 hr charge. I doubt that this town will skip a chance at revenue.

    1. Cost to use EV charging stations

      Only IGO members will be able to use electric vehicles at IGO's dedicated electric vehicle charging stations. The cost of charging will be included in the hourly rate for using the vehicles. You can find more information at http://www.igocars.org/locations/evs/.

      There will eventually be a charge for use of the public charging stations at these locations, which will be operated by 350Green, though that hasn't been publicized yet. You can check http://chargepoint.net for information on charging station locations and costs to charge, if any.

  2. Charging Stations? Absurd!

    I saw the beginning of  construction for the charging stations near my home and asked one of the men working on them what they were building.  He told me it was for electric car charging.  What an unpleasant surprise.  I said to him, "What a waste of our money!  No one will ever use them!"  He smiled and said, "I know.  My boss is building these everywhere, too!"

    I am so tired of Evanston and Evanston's absurd and spendthrift politics.  I'll be voting with my feet as soon as I am able.

    1. Calm down, the city isn’t paying for them

      Calm down. The city is actually GETTING PAID to rent the space to a private company.

      There are no public moneys involved.  It is a revenue generator.

  3. Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Absurd?

    Gentle Reader… 

    You must have missed this part:  "The car sharing services that will be provided by I-Go are backed by several grants, including one from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation."  This is not coming out of Evanston taxpayers pockets (per se)… it a grant to help foster change (and IMHO, change from burning fossil fuels is change we need!).

    I'd like to think we owe the early adopters an enormous debt of gratitude as they make it possible to eventually sort out new technologies that will become mainstream sooner or later. 

    So, I say thank you electric vehicle pioneers – YOU ROCK!

    Respectfully submitted: Brian G. Becharas

    Brian G. Becharas
    Energy Education Associates
    Secretary: Renewable Energy Task Force, Chairman: Transportation Task Force,
    CGE – http://www.greenerevanston.org/   http://www.facebook.com/CitizensGreenerEvanston


    1. We owe them for being guinea pigs

      The electric car owners are willing to pay sky-high prices for their cars [I did not know we have so many rich and/or movie stars in Evanston—a good ground for more taxes] with the knowledge that within a few years they will have to replace the battery at maybe $15,000. Also the towing companies will make a lot of money pulling them to the garage [I assume the mechanics will not then be able to fix them—just gas/charge them].  Of course the effective coal plant they use to power them will also be gratefull.

      If we can keep them buying the electric cars for maybe another 20 years, they may have worked out the problems and they will be at a price mere mortals can afford—and not simply trade off one non-renewable source for another and actually be efficient.

      1. Guinea Pigs?

        My dear Anon,

        Methinks that people who purchase Electric Vehicles (EV's) do not consider themselves guinea pigs.  They are IMHO, more socially responsible than most others and are willing to put their cash (and their guts) on the table to pioneer new modes of transport so our future generations learn from our mistakes.

        I queried my "Green Guru" friend about a couple of things objectionable in your discussion…

        You mentioned coal – The ComEd/Northern Illinois (PJM, or Regional Transmission Organization) electricity share (or mix) is now 12% natural gas, 44% coal, 40% nuclear, 1% wind, 1% hydro, 1% biomass.  The latter three (only 3%) are often considered renewable.  The nuclear fraction has dropped from 72% back in 2009 to the current 40%.  Coal and gas have replaced a lot of nuclear power in our electricity mix.  The ComEd values are right around 1 pound of CO2 per kWh. Great news, last night the City Council unanimously approved 100% Green Renewable Energy for Evanston's Community Choice Aggregation (OK, the electrons aren't coming right off the windfarm… but we get their allocation to counter our carbon.)

        Electric Vehicles (EV) generally take between 0.3kWh per mile to 0.4kWh per mile. These values are from the wall socket (AC), so they include the charger/charging losses. So, even with the mixed grid electricity you have CO2 emissions near a Prius — just by switching to an EV.  Obviously, using Renewable Energy (RE) to charge your EV is the home run.  Most of us are not there yet.

        About the batteries: Also from my “Green Guru”… who is a Prius owner…
        “I have had my Prius (2nd generation) for 8 1/4 years, and it is the rare car that has to get its hybrid battery pack replaced under warranty.  However, there are lots and lots of first generation Prius' (Prii?) running around town that are up to 12 years old.  Their batteries are still working fine.  The concept is that by the time the mass replacement is going on, the price of batteries will be significantly lower.  There will be a large market for used batteries for other uses (like to power homes/cottages).  The remaining older batteries will be recycled.

        In the meantime EV’s offer: no tailpipes, engine oil, oil filters, gas filters, spark plugs, mufflers, etc, etc.  MUCH lower cost to operate an EV.  Put it this way, to go 100 miles with gas at $4.75/gal, an SUV deliver 12.5 mpg = $38, a sedan at 25 mpg = $19, a Prius is about $10 and a Leaf is $3, the latter with essentially no maintenance.

        Who exactly is driving more than 80 or so miles a day? (Leaf range is approx. 100 miles)  If you actually understand how the Leaf (or any EV) works, you pretty much have to be asleep at the wheel to run out of power.  There are many smart phone apps that show were charging stations are (and they are built into the main display map of the EVs) and more and more 440v charging stations are coming.  The 440v units charge a car to 80% of its capacity in 30 minutes.  Not a big deal if planned correctly, but frankly if you have a full charge, doing a days drive under range is not a problem for the vast majority of people (and their design criteria).  The problem area will be people living out in the far flung exurbs who commute into Chicago.  That is one more problem that they will need to deal with in the near future. 

        When charged at night like the vast majority of EV's will be, they are using non carbon sources of power, including a large amount of wind power.  Many people like to say that wind power is not efficient because it is producing power at night when no one uses it… simply not true.

        A lot of this discussion sounds like what some of our great grandfathers probably were saying when internal combustion engines were replacing horses at the turn of the 20th century.”

        I hope this helps dispel a few myths and mis-understandings.

        Respectfully submitted, Brian G. Becharas

        1. Money as a scarce resource


          Money is a scarce resource.

          An EV at 12,000 mi/yr will cost $360/yr

          A Hybrid at 12,000 mi/yr will cost $1200/yr

          An SUV at 12,000 mi/yr will cost $4560/yr.

          Using your numbers, and assuming a $15,000 premium for a battery, an EV against a SUV would pay for its premium in  4.2 yrs.  [$15,000/({4560 -$360)]   An SUV carries more (if that is a need)

          An EV against a hybrid would pay for itself in 18 yrs.

          Batteries have to come down before this is more than a "feel good" option.

          One problem, rare earths and minerals used in batteries come from China, which has 45% of rare earths and minerals, but which exports over 90% of those used. US has about same but we do not mine them because of EPA rules.

          If money is no object. After all we have no debt, pensions or other distractions…



          1. Money as a scarce resource


            There is problem with your $15k battery premium cost assumption.  The number I have heard used is $10k.  Furthermore, as of Monday night, the price of electricity just went down significantly, by about 20% of the total delivered cost.  Also, don't forget the reduced maintenance costs noted above.  And finally, you are assuming the cost of petroleum is not increasing annually.  While it has been flucuating up and down lately, it is clearly on an upward trend. 

            I went to a dealership recently to look at the Leaf.  The Leaf is $27k after incentives.  Without the incentives, the car is $35,200.  I don't know when the last time you were in a car dealership, but most of the cars are in the $30k range and up.  Every manufacturer has one (or maybe two) very small cheaper cars but for the most part the cars are in the upper $20k to $55k range.  

            And a totally different way to look at this.  Many EV owners simply don't want to ever go to a gas station.  Period.  They want to remove their vehicle from the petroleum addition.  Maybe they don't want to be a part of the 4500 US casualities in Iraq plus all of the injuried troops.   Nothing is without consequence, but charging an electric car that uses wind power (Evanston residents now have 100% renewables from Illinois or the adjacent states per Evanston's agreement) as opposed to fueling a car with dirty non-renewable fuel may very well be attractive to many people.

          2. EV Batteries


            I am a BSEE/MBA and read the technical press (I also managed a Value Engineering Dept. that did competitive analysisi). The engineering press places the batteries at $15K, which could go down with volume.

            Some items you did not dwell on:

            Incentives. That money has to come from somewhere and it is the taxpayers. I could use that money in a better way.

            You also ignored the sourcing of the rare earths and minerals, which are not only used in EV batteries, but also in solar panels, wind turbines, etc.

            If you think that the mid East sources of oil are a problem, what about being dependent on China?

            BTW what about our own sources of oil and gas which could make us independent of foreign sources?

            Wind power has its own problems, but that won't disturb you unless you live near a turbine (noise) or like birds.

            If being fossil fuel free makes you happy, fine. Just do not force your beliefs on me.

    2. Where does grant money come from?

      So where did the Il. dept of Commerce and Economic Opportrunity and the Illinois Clean energy community foundation get the money to make these grants?  Are they funded only by citizen donations or freely funded by private business?   Don't they get funded by the State of Illinois?  And how does the state get funded?  

      I know that the Illinois clean energy community foundation was founded by Commonwealth Edison, so I, Evanston taxpayer, did pay for that grant, directly out of my pocket. 

      Making a statement that "this is not coming out of Evanston taxpayers pockets"  is a statement with no accuracy whatsoever, misleading, could even be called somewhat dishonest,  per se.


      1. Grant Money / Taxpayers

        My dear Anon,

        Saying: 'its tax payer money' begs one to look at the larger picture.  We can continue to send our cash in record amounts to OPEC or, we can do something about it.  National security concerns are helped when reducing or eliminating our need for foreign oil. 

        And if one is so concerned about tax payer money, demand that Congress go after Big Oil and their subsidies! Where do you think that is coming from? (despite 100's of Billions of dollars in annual profits from your regular visits to their gas stations).

        Respectfully submitted, Brian G. Becharas

  4. Charging stations

    How wonderful to see Evanston endorsing the future as electric vehicles are many time more efficent and no hydrocarbons come out of their non existing tail pipe.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

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