Elgin will consider 39 electric vehicle stations, courtesy of Tesla
The city of Elgin's sustainability commission hopes the city council will take advantage of an offer from the automaker Tesla to install 39 free electric vehicle charging stations throughout the city.
That would include 22 Tesla chargers -- compatible only with Tesla electric vehicles -- and 17 universal charging stations spread across eight locations: three downtown parking decks, two downtown parking lots, the Eastside Recreation Center, and The Highlands of Elgin and Bowes Creek golf courses.
The local contractor would be Kapital Electric, whose representative, Steve Medearis, told the commission Tuesday Tesla has approved the $109,000 plan at no cost to the city.
This is part of a Tesla program offering free "wall connector" chargers and installation subsidies for customers including municipalities, hotels, entertainment venues, shopping centers and more, Medearis said.
The electricity would be provided by the city at no cost to drivers. Medearis estimated that to cost $75 to $150 per month for each of the eight sites. The charging stations would be "Level 2," delivering about 30 miles of driving distance for each hour of charge.
Elgin -- which has a dual charging station in the Centre of Elgin parking deck -- would benefit by showing up on destination charging maps and attracting electric vehicle owners for dining, shopping and entertainment, Medearis said.
Commissioners said the benefits would outweigh any costs and loss of parking spaces. "It seems like a no brainer," Commissioner Bryan Miko said.
Electric vehicles sales reached 1 percent market share for the first time in 2017, according to evadoption.com. Forecasters say electric vehicles will make up 65 percent of new light-duty vehicle sales by 2050, according to Forbes.com.
Resident Robin Migalla, who owns an electric car and electric motorcycle, said people like her often plan trips based on the availability of chargers.
"That's why I am excited about (the offer from Tesla), because that's a draw to Elgin from other communities," she said.
There were a half million electric vehicles in the United States in 2016, and another 200,000 in new sales in 2017, with Tesla's share of the market at about 50 percent, down from about 80 percent a few years ago, Medearis said.
The company is offering its incentive program simply to entice people to buy more electric cars, Medearis said. Kapital Electric recently worked on deals between Tesla and the Fox Valley Park District, where 15 chargers were installed, as well as the village of Oak Brook and the Glen Ellyn Park District, which are getting 21 chargers each, Medearis said.
Medearis also said technology is being developed that would eventually allow drivers to be charged for electric consumption.
The Elgin City Council is expected to discuss the proposal in June. The sustainability commission also plans to discuss whether to add about $12,000 worth of energy monitoring technology to the charging station, an expense that would come out of the commission's 2018 budget.