Chicago electric vehicle owners and I-GO Car Sharing members are getting a new solar-powered charging station at the park and ride lot adjacent to the Brown Line Kimball El station.
The electric vehicle charging station, approved by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) in December, is the first solar-powered station to be installed on CTA property and is part of an I-GO project to add 18 solar charging stations and 36 electric vehicles to its fleet.
The company’s charging stations have solar canopies that cover four parking spaces and can power two electric vehicles, including one I-GO vehicle and one electric vehicle owned by the general public. Each canopy is topped with 44 solar panels and can produce about 10 kilowatts of electricity. Together, the company’s solar canopies will produce about 200,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, good for about 600,000 miles driven per year.
The Kimball charging station is slightly smaller. It has a solar canopy that covers only two parking spaces for electric cars, but will still be able to serve one I-GO car and one electric vehicle owned by the general public.
I-GO, formed in 2002, now claims some 15,000 members and more than 200 locations in nearly 40 neighborhoods and suburbs throughout the Chicago region. The company’s mission is to create a seamless transfer from public transportation to a pollution-free I-GO all-electric vehicle. According to I-GO, the average member spends about $2,520 per year to share its cars, roughly $5,000 less than what the average American spends to own, operate and maintain a car.
“CTA Approves Solar-Powered Charging Station for I-GO Electric Vehicles at Kimball Brown Line Stop,” Center for Neighborhood Technology press release, Dec. 14, 2011.