Illinois Tollway may add EV charging to I-294

Oct. 4, 2018
The interstate is presently under massive reconstruction in the Chicago metropolitan area

The Illinois Tollway has begun to examine the addition of embedded equipment on the I-294 corridor that would enable electric vehicles (EVs) to charge on route. At present the interstate is undergoing a $4 billion reconstruction, which includes the widening of a 22-mile stretch of the roadway.

Off-highway, the agency is looking at conventional charging stations and “super-charger” stations that power up electric cars and trucks more rapidly. The agency also is studying “smart-powered lanes,” a type of technology being piloted in Sweden. These lanes would have charging technology within the pavement itself; power from the road would be transferred to a receiver on the bottom frames of Evs and would wirelessly charge vehicles as they drive past at full-speed.

At present the cost estimates for adding such technology are not known, though the Tollway Authority is convening this week to discuss the matter directly. In light of most drivers’ concerns over “range anxiety,” an Evs limited range of travel on a single charge, the addition of this technology could be a major step toward enabling more EV use and encouraging EV travel.

“This could really be a game changer and take the concern about range off the table, at least for those who use the Tollway system,” Michael Sturino, president of the Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association, said. He said the road industry believes that truck fleets and buses will lead the way in converting to electric power, ahead of passenger vehicles.

Construction on the portion of the Tri-State stretching from Balmoral Avenue near O'Hare International Airport to 95th Street in Bridgeview should be complete in 2026. 

[Source: Chicago Tribune]