Illinois Governor Pledges $1M to Make Route 66 Electric Vehicle Friendly

As electric vehicles continue to make their way to consumers, the issue of range and being able to conveniently recharge tend to come up. While there are gas stations aplenty, charging stations for electric vehicles are another matter. But that will change for travelers driving through one section of Route 66, as a new $1 million investment will help establish a series of charging stations along the highway through the state of Illinois. 

“We are building a 21st century infrastructure across Illinois and we need to make sure that it is sustainable for future generations,” said Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. “This new project exemplifies Illinois’ place as the innovation capital of the Midwest, with cutting-edge business practices that create jobs and encourage sustainability.” 

At least one or more charging stations will be installed in the cities of Plainfield, Pontiac, Normal, Dwight, Lincoln, Springfield, Carlinville, and Edwardsville that will be accessible from Route 66. At each charging point, there will be at least one fast charging station that will be capable of charging vehicles with CHAdeMO or SAE connectors within 15-20 minutes and one Level 2 charging station.

Pontiac Route 66
Image Credit: Flickr (Anna Harris)

The project to create the Illinois Route 66 Electric Corridor is a collaboration between the state, local governments, and the private sector that will result in a 300-mile long EV charging station network that goes from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River. Auto manufacturers supporting the project include BMW along with Illinois-based Nissan and Mitsubishi. 

"The State of Illinois' Route 66 EV corridor is consistent with Mitsubishi Motors North America's desire to affect a broader acceptance of EVs through user-friendly infrastructure," said MMNA General Manager of Corporate Communications Dan Irvin. "It is our belief that projects like this will help our state maximize the possibilities of EVs."

Once completed, the network of charging stations will enable EV drivers to travel between Chicago and St. Louis. Installation of the charging stations will begin this month and will be completed by summer 2015.