Electric cars haven't caught on with the public yet, but Mundelein officials are preparing for the future by laying underground conduit that could be used for charging stations on the land where a new village hall is being built.
Mayor Steve Lentz proposed the installation, which will add $52,650 to the cost of the roughly $10 million construction project. More outdoor electrical outlets than originally planned will be added, too.
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Doing it before the building is constructed will cost less than waiting until later and tearing up a parking lot, he said.
"It's the perfect time to jump in and save some money in the long run, should (electric cars) become popular," Lentz said during Monday's village board meeting.
Owners of fully electric and hybrid autos would be able to charge their batteries at the stations, which resemble gasoline pumps. They would be located at parking-lot islands.
Officials haven't determined if motorists will have to pay to charge their cars.
The two-story village hall eventually will stand on the 200 block of East Hawley Street, just northwest of the town's Metra commuter station.
The building should be completed in June 2014.
A Vernon Hills firm called Weston Solutions has overseen the project. As part of the town's deal with Weston, the company will move into offices on the second floor of the building when the structure is complete.
Rent payments from Weston will help pay back construction costs.
Although approved unanimously, the charging-station proposal raised a few questions from village trustees Monday.
Trustee Ed Sullivan asked if the parking spots equipped with the charging stations will be reserved for electric cars.
Trustee Ray Semple mentioned that he'd read auto manufacturers don't have universally accepted charging equipment.
Public charging stations operate in Chicago, Atlanta, Miami and other cities around the country. Walgreens stores are common sites.
In the Chicago suburbs, stations exist in Arlington Heights, Palatine, Schaumburg, Lincolnshire and other towns.
Since charging a car can take hours, some merchants and municipal planners see free charging stations as a way to encourage people to spend time at a particular store or in a downtown business district.
One of the nation's biggest charging-station installations is at the Denver International Airport. Fliers are encouraged to charge their cars in parking garages during trips.
Ten new stations are being added there this fall.