The city has awarded a $1.9 million contract to San Diego-based 350 Green LLC to install the stations in Chicago and its suburbs, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The installations will be covered half by state and half by federal money, through a grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
This will give Chicago a distinct advantage, helping to persuade electric and plug-in vehicle manufacturers to roll out their vehicles in the Windy City first, the Tribune said.
So far only Ford has included Chicago among initial rollout locations for electric vehicles, announcing that the city would be among the first to get the Ford Focus Electric near the end of 2011.
350 Green will install, own and operate 73 charging locations, called CharJit Express Plazas. There, drivers can use either quick-charging or 220-volt Level 2 charging stations.
The plazas will be located at O’Hare and Midway airports, at grocery stores, on tollways and in parking garages.
The project will cost $8.77 million, which 350 Green will provide up-front. It will later be reimbrused $1.9 million from grant funds.
“Range anxiety” has been widely cited as a factor prohibiting greater uptake of electrics, with consumers and fleet operators fearful that cars will run out of power midway through a journey.
But a Pike Research study found that 83 percent of survey respondents drive 40 miles or less in a typical day, making range anxiety a non-issue for the majority of prospective plug-in drivers.