July 11, 2014

Mayor Emanuel Announces Drive Electric Chicago Program

Nearly 100 Local Auto Dealers Partner To Support Chicago's Growing Electric Vehicle Market; Program Kicks off with Ride-And-Drive Event at Taste of Chicago

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the launch of Drive Electric Chicago, a website that will serve as a one-stop for information on electric vehicle ownership and feature a series of guidelines on electric vehicle ownership, details on rebates and incentives and expedited permitting for charging stations through the City's Easy Permit Program. The program will kick off with an electric vehicle ride-and-drive event at Taste of Chicago, giving visitors and residents the opportunity to get behind the wheel of an electric vehicle and learn about the financial and environmental benefits of driving electric.

"The City of Chicago is committed to an environment in which energy efficient vehicles are the norm, not the exception," Mayor Emanuel said. "Driving an electric vehicle is a smart choice, saving residents money, protecting our air quality, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions."

BMW, Chevy, and Nissan will be offering free test drives of their latest electric vehicles at the "Electric Avenue" ride-and-drive event on Friday, July 11 from 11am-5pm and Saturday, July 12 from 10am-6pm. Participants can sign up for a test drive at the Drive Electric Chicago program booth near the Congress Parkway entrance to the Taste of Chicago.

The average Chicago resident can save 70% in fuel costs in additional to reduced maintenance costs by driving an electric vehicle, and about 33% fewer greenhouse gas emissions per year, according to the US Department of Energy's Electric Drive Cost Calculator. Driving an electric vehicle is convenient because of at-home charging in addition to the numerous public charging stations located throughout the City of Chicago. One of the goals of the Drive Electric Chicago program is to make the installation process as easy and cost-efficient as possible.

Led by the Mayor's Office and Department of Transportation, the City developed a set of easy-to-understand guidelines for the public, targeted at multi-unit dwellings. Reflecting best practices from cities around the country, the guidelines received input from a variety of stakeholders including environmental non-profits, building managers, industry, labor, contractors, and equipment manufacturers. The City secured grant funding from Chicago Area Clean Cities to support graphic design, layout and branding.

With 39% of Chicago residents living in multi-unit dwellings, the Drive Electric Chicago program will provide guidance to assist electric vehicle owners and building managers in finding the best possible solution to incorporate charging stations in multi-unit dwellings. Step-by-step charging station installation guidelines and additional resources can be found at www.DriveElectricChicago.org.

Drive Electric Chicago is a partnership of the City of Chicago, the Chicago Area Clean Cities Coalition and the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, working to support Mayor Emanuel's goal to make Chicago the most competitive, livable, and sustainable city in the 21st century, as laid out in the Sustainable Chicago 2015 action agenda. The Chicago Automobile Trade Association and Chicago area BMW, GM, and Nissan dealers are including banner images and links to download the new guidelines on their websites.

The Taste of Chicago "Electric Avenue" ride-and-drive event is aimed to increase people's knowledge about electric vehicles, their usage and also to kick off the new Drive Electric Chicago program. Hosting the "Electric Avenue" event further supports Mayor Emanuel's commitment to transform the City of Chicago into the nation's most sustainable city.

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About Chicago Area Clean Cities Coalition
The Chicago Area Clean Cities Coalition (CACC) is part of the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Cities program. Its mission is to assist public and private organizations in the adoption of alternative fuels to improve the environment and reduce America's dependence on foreign oil. In addition, CACC helps organizations find government resources and funds in order to implement clean fuel initiatives and petroleum displacement projects.