By the beginning of June, Evanston residents will likely have access to several new solar-powered, electrical-vehicle charging spaces at three locations around town.
I-Go, a Chicago-based nonprofit car sharing business, will begin building at three Evanston locations on April 16, and construction is expected to last six weeks. Each canopy will have four charging stations -- two to recharge I-Go owned low emission electric vehicles, which the company recently added to its fleet, and two where anyone driving an electric car can charge up for a fee.
The solar canopies will be located in parking lots three blocks west of the Central Street Metra station (Lot 3), behind the Evanston Public Library (Lot 4) and on Hinman Avenue just south of Main Street (Lot 32).
The three canopies combined will produce 200,000 kilowatt-hours annually, enough to power electric vehicles for 600,000 miles, according to the City of Evanston website. Earlier I-Go reports stated that each canopy will create an average of 30 to 35 kilowatt-hours per day.
“Transportation emissions are the third largest contributor of greenhouse gasses in the community and the I-Go car sharing program helps to reduce emissions, congestion on the road and parking demands,” said Catherine Hurley, sustainable programs coordinator for the City of Evanston, in a post on the city’s website.
I-Go for the solar canopies to the city during an August Transportation and Parking Committee meeting, and the City Council approved three locations for the venture in October. The project is part of I-Go’s larger plan to build 18 solar-canopy car rental stations for 36 electric cars in the Chicagoland area.
The I-Go solar canopies will reportedly be built at no cost to the City of Evanston, and I-Go will pay the city a fee for building on public parking spaces.
Evanston is currently home to eleven I-Go vehicles, though none are currently powered solely by electric motors. I-Go, like other car sharing programs, allows members to reserve cars at unmanned rental stations that are often single, sign-marked parking spaces located in the lots of frequented stores and other high-traffic destinations.
Members pick up and drop off a vehicle at its singular home location, unlock the car with their membership cards and the vehicle tracks the length of the journey, charging the customer’s linked-up credit card accordingly. I-Go members must be between 18 and 81, have a valid Illinois driver’s license, have no major moving violations and no more than two minor violations listed on their driving record for the past three years, and must link a valid credit card to their