ComEd is Helping Fifteen More Illinois Communities Get EV ReadyAugust 17, 2023
ComEd and the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus (MMC) are bringing 15 more communities into the EV Readiness Program, an initiative helping Illinois local governments meet the growing demand for electric vehicles (EV) and EV charging infrastructure through funding of policy development, urban planning, and technical and safety training. With a $225,000 investment to jumpstart this program last year, ComEd is supporting surrounding cities, townships, villages, and counties in gaining a better understanding of the steps necessary to facilitate the switch to EVs for residents and businesses.
Last year, ComEd and the MMC kicked off the EV Readiness Program placing 16 communities ahead of the EV curve by providing them with templates, tools, resources, and a checklist identifying actionable planning steps, as well as opportunities for state and federal funding.
One example of how the program is giving communities an advantage in boosting their EV programs is by helping them apply for competitive federal funding opportunities. Earlier this year, several EV Readiness communities joined a regional application submitted by MMC for $15 million from the federal Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Grant to expand EV charging infrastructure and support widespread EV adoption. If awarded, this grant would fund the construction of a network of 114 public chargers across the greater Chicago region, supporting the advancement of clean transportation.
“With training and preparation, municipalities can encourage the expeditious development of safe, accessible EV charging and speed up the broad adoption of EVs,” said Edith Makra, Director of Environmental Initiatives for the MMC. “It’s been incredible to not only see our communities step forward to become EV Ready, but to also see the outcomes of their efforts including smart zoning codes, a streamlined process for permitting EV charger installation, and robust public education.”
Over the last six months, the first cohort of communities in the EV Readiness Program have made headway in securing state and federal funding and in solidifying their EV infrastructure policies, permitting, and community engagement. Among the first was the Village of University Park, home to one of the largest industrial corridors in the region, located just east of I-57 in the south suburbs of Chicago.
“University Park is grateful to collaborate with other municipalities that are also working to integrate EVs and EV infrastructure in their communities while educating constituents on the environmental, health, and workforce opportunities presented by this transition,” said Elizabeth Scott, Village Manager for the Village of University Park. “It’s been especially significant to black and brown communities that have felt the biggest impacts of climate change and air pollution. Through the program, we’ve gained support and insight on how to access incentives to make our community safer and more livable for our children and future generations.”
As the first cohort wraps up, a new cohort is now preparing to take on EV planning. The Village of Bensenville is one of the 15 municipalities participating in the second cohort of the EV Readiness Program. Located northwest of Chicago near O’Hare airport, Bensenville boasts a diverse population in terms of race, ethnicity, and income.
“Bensenville is eager and honored to be at the forefront of the transition to EV technology. The village is always seeking opportunities to enhance the quality of life and economic success of our diverse resident and business populations,” said Nick Arquette, Planner for the Village of Bensenville. “ComEd is already rolling out programs to help make EVs and EV charging a realistic and affordable possibility for our communities. The village sees this program as the perfect opportunity to ensure preparedness for the future.”
The expansion of the EV Readiness Program is just one of ComEd’s latest efforts to advance electrification, enabling communities to reduce pollution stemming from tailpipe emissions, and improving the environment and community health. ComEd also recently announced a $231 million investment to expand electrification through a new EV Charging Delivery Rate option for nonresidential customers. The new rate option will be followed by a list of make-ready infrastructure rebate programs that are slated to go live in early 2024.
“ComEd is committed to helping the communities it proudly serves reap the benefits of going electric, which include improved air quality, lower energy costs, and the economic opportunity of incoming clean energy jobs,” said Philip Roy, director of external affairs at ComEd. “ComEd’s partnership with the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus is empowering area communities in developing their own strategic investment in EVs and EV charging infrastructure by removing barriers to the tools and resources needed to move toward an electrified future.”
Following the Illinois landmark Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), which aims to put at least 1 million EVs on state roads by the year 2030, EV adoption in the state has grown rapidly. There are nearly 70,000 registered EVs in ComEd’s service territory to date, and as EV adoption increases, the need for financial investment and urban planning support escalates to remove barriers and ramp up electrification in our communities.
Stay tuned for more information about how to take advantage of the upcoming electrification programs. Visit ComEd’s EV Toolkit for more about how to prepare for the transition to EVs or check out the clean energy page to learn more about expanded solar, home energy efficiency and EV programs that can help chart a journey to a cleaner future.