Route 66 Goes Electric With EV Charging Stations

The State of Illinois is contributing $1,000,000 to install EV recharging stations along Route 66 from Chicago to St. Louis. Eight cities along the route – Plainfield, Dwight, Pontiac, Normal, Lincoln, Springfield, Carlinville, and Edwardsville – will install at least one DC fast-charging station with either CHAdeMO or CCS connectors and one 240-Volt Level 2 station.

Installation of the stations is expected to begin this month and Illinois officials hope to have the entire network completed by summer 2015. The effort is backed by BMW, Mitsubishi and Nissan with technical support from the University of California, Davis.

The original highway came to symbolize America’s love affair with the automobile and inspired President Eisenhower to begin construction of the Interstate Highway System. The slower pace of the old highway seems perfect for electric cars that need to stop every once in a while to recharge their batteries. Officials hope the addition of the charging infrastructure will encourage a form of eco-tourism, as EV drivers flock to re-live the early days of transcontinental motoring.

Close your eyes and you can almost imagine Tod and Buz cruising through rural Illinois in a 1960 Corvette converted to electric power while the radio plays Nat King Cole singing, “It winds from Chicago to LA, more than 2000 miles all the way. Get your kicks on Route 66.”

Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.