Monday, October 12, 2009

Mayor Daley gets a charge of out I-GO

I-GO & Electric Charging Stations from I-GO Car Sharing on Vimeo.

On Saturday, Oct. 10, I-GO Car Sharing was prominently featured in a high-profile press conference and exhibition hosted by Magellan Development Group at its new, high-profile Aqua tower in Chicago's Lakeshore East community. The Aqua, an 82-story mixed-use structure designed by architect Jeanne Gang with many environmentally beneficial elements, includes the Midwest's first electric vehicle charging station open to the public.

Mayor Richard Daley participated in the charging station demonstration of a plug-in electric Prius provided by I-GO. The new station adds to the progressive efforts of newly created Carbon Day Automotives, a Chicago firm employing the Coulomb Technologies ChargePoint Network of electric charging stations. A new infrastructure for electric electric vehicles is being created to deal with the fact that virtually every auto manufacturer has announced plans to produce plug-in vehicles in the next one to three years in response to concerns over high gas prices, oil dependence, and the impact of climate change on the environment.

The six-charger station at Aqua will accommodate up to 24 plug-in vehicles. To access it, and others in the ChargePoint/Carbon Day Automotive network, drivers of plug-in vehicles will be required to subscribe to a plan that will provide convenient and affordable access to all public charging stations.

All plug-in stations are connected by computer network to provide drivers with best access to outlets. Drivers can access locations based on the navigation system in their vehicles, computers, telephones, or smartphones. The system no only identifies the closest stations but tells subscribers which are idle and which are occupied.

The event was significant for another reason as well. It provides an impressive prototype for the kind of sustainable-energy infrastructure Chicago will be building with funds awarded via the U.S. Department of Energy's 2009 Clean Cities Petroleum Reduction Technologies grant program. Recently, Mayor Daley announced, Chicago was the recipient of $15 million in stimulus funding allocated toward this purpose. I-GO is among the partners committed to transforming Chicago's sustainable transportation, along with ComEd, Carbon Day, Magellan, the City of Chicago's Department of the Environment, and Yellow Cab, all of whom also took part in the Aqua event.

I-GO has two plug-in electric vehicles in its metro-wide fleet, which is entirely comprised of highly fuel-efficient, low-emission vehicles. Hybrid gas-electric vehicles account for nearly half of the organization's fleet. The non-profit plans to add many more plug-ins in the near future and work in tandem with the imminent solar-panel-powered electric charging station network to help lead the way toward greener mobility in the Chicago area.

This video includes both the press conference proceedings as well as interviews with I-GO CEO Sharon Feigon and Carbon Day Automotive's business development manager, Brian Levin, recorded earlier at the latter org's Carbon Day Festival in Lincoln Park on Sept. 15.

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