7-Eleven Electrifies Illinois Oases

Rolls out electric vehicle fast-charging network in partnership with state, developer

Pat Quinn (Photos: 7-Eleven)

SCHILLER PARK, Ill. -- Governor Pat Quinn and representatives from the Illinois Tollway, 7-Eleven Inc. and 350Green LLC announced yesterday the availability of the nation's largest network of fast-charging electric vehicle (EV) stations. Motorists can charge an electric vehicle in under 30 minutes using the current fast-chargers at 7-Eleven sites at four Tollway Oasis locations, and will soon be able to charge vehicles at all seven Tollway Oases.

Partnerships with charging station hosts such as 7-Eleven have been key to the rollout of the network across the state. 7-Eleven convenience stores at four of the Illinois Tollway Oases now have dedicated space for fast-charging stations.

"Our support for electric vehicle charging stations is a perfect fit with our commitment to providing travelers with the things that make their trip more enjoyable--whether it's our coffee, energy drinks or variety of fresh food products we offer at our stores. Now we offer the most advanced charging technology to people driving the most advanced vehicles," said 7-Eleven market manager Tim Hale.

Before plugging in to one of the Tollway's fast-chargers, drivers must purchase a payment card from 350Green. The $21 card includes three 15-minute sessions at fast-charging stations.

Through the Chicago-Area EV Infrastructure Project, 26 fast-chargers have been installed, with 73 total fast-chargers planned. Eight of these are currently in place at Tollway Oases along the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) at the Des Plaines Oasis and on the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80) at the Lake Forest Oasis, O'Hare Oasis and Chicago Southland Lincoln Oasis.

The installations, managed by 350Green, were performed by Chicago-based JNS Power & Control Systems.

"We want Illinois to be the greenest state in America. By installing the largest network of cutting edge fast-chargers, Illinois will continue to support green jobs and provide people with environmentally-friendly and affordable travel options," Quinn said.

"Today, the Tollway is taking steps to ensure that electric vehicle drivers on our roadways have the same convenient access to electricity as other drivers have to fuel," said Illinois Tollway executive director Kristi Lafleur. "At the same time, we are continuing our commitment to 'clean and green' technology and making the Tollway a leader in environmental sustainability."

The City of Chicago is overseeing the project's installation of 280 charging stations overall to increase accessibility to EV charging. With a budget of $8.8 million, including $1.9 million in public funding and $6.9 million in private investment, EV stations are being installed mostly in areas with dense residential and worker populations and in high-traffic areas. The overall EV infrastructure project has created approximately 18 jobs and its construction will support 8,500 labor hours.

"With this announcement, the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois have the largest and most advanced fast-charging EV infrastructure in the U.S.," said Mariana Gerzanych, co-founder and CEO of 350Green. "Whether you are at a mall, a drugstore or now on the open road, [EV] drivers can take comfort in knowing a charging station will be just around the corner."

The Chicago-Area EV Infrastructure Project is funded in part by the state's Illinois Jobs Now! capital plan and Clean Cities Grant funds that the city of Chicago received through the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. The project is one of several initiatives now underway in Illinois to promote the adoption and use of EVs.

The Illinois Jobs Now! plan includes up to $10 million in capital funding for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to award EV manufacturing and infrastructure incentives, which will begin rolling out this spring. In July 2011, Quinn signed the Electric Vehicle Act to form the Illinois Electric Vehicle Advisory Council, a group of public- and private-sector electric vehicle stakeholders collaborating to develop policies and programs that support EVs.

In addition, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) offers the Illinois Alternate Fuels Rebate Program, which provides a rebate of up to $4,000 toward EV purchases. The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) also launched a Plug-in Electric Vehicle Initiative (PEV) Initiative to explore regulatory issues related to EV deployment.

Based in Los Angeles, 350Green is a project developer that designs, builds and operates a scalable, nationwide network of electric vehicle (E.V.) charging stations. The company partners with retailers, commercial property managers and developers, and municipalities to locate charging stations at places near where EV drivers live and work. Current projects are underway in Illinois, California, Washington, D.C., New York, Indiana and Pennsylvania. The company has signed partnerships with Walgreens and Simon Property Group, among others.

Dallas-based 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses more than 9,100 7-Eleven stores in North America. Globally, there are approximately 45,600 7-Eleven stores in 16 countries. During 2010, 7-Eleven stores worldwide generated total sales close to $63 billion.