EV Owners Can “Juice Up” For Free in Chicago
By George Straton
Autosavant recently attended the first of what national parking facility operator InterPark claims is the dawn of a new era in vehicle parking facilities. That era is the development of a charging infrastructure for the plug in electric vehicle.
Hints coming from Nissan are that the Chicago market, where the event was held, isn’t likely to receive its first allocation of the Leaf, the first plug-in electric vehicle to be “mass” produced for the U.S. market, until the end of 2012.
A representative for Carbon Day, the Midwest distributor of the Coulomb Technology 220V rapid charge terminals, suggested that installing EV charging terminals in Public Parking facilities in Chicago might seem to the uninitiated a bit like “putting the proverbial egg before the chicken.” However the fact is that the Windy City is already home to several $100,000 plus Tesla EV Roadsters, and at least a few Toyota Priuses that have undergone a conversion from gas-electric hybrid to add plug-in EVcapabilities.
National parking facility operator and GE Real Estate subsidiary InterPark isn’t waiting until the last moment to tap into the potentially lucrative “Park and Charge” market. According to InterPark Senior Vice President Jim Luria, all twelve Chicago InterPark parking structures are being outfitted with two Coulomb Technologies fast chargers. Parking/charging spaces for EVs will be located “up front” in the parking facilities. To boot, at least the first twelve months InterPark customers using the EV charging stations will not pay any cost for the charge.
Considering the earlier mention of EV charging as a “potentially lucrative” market, it stands to reason that EV charging will not always be a free proposition for customers.In fact the announcement of parking facility charging rates is likely to coincide with the introduction to market of the Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius plug-in.
To draw attention to their effort InterPark is sponsoring a giveaway (no purchase required) for parking discounts, a three-year complimentary lease on a Toyota Prius, and a two-year complimentary lease of a Tesla Roadster Sport. For those who are convinced that EVs aren’t “environmentally friendly enough” another prize is a pair of Trek bicycles. While true “greenies” might lean toward the bikes, the winner of the red Tesla Roadster will probably make other Illinois motorists green with envy. Though no purchase is necessary to enter, apparently the only way to enter is to get a game card at an InterPark garage office. Good luck, Chicago readers!