Hello There! Let‘s Talk About Owning an Electric Vehicle in Illinois

So you‘ve been thinking about buying an electric vehicle. As an Illinois resident, you likely have some questions about charging costs, available tax incentives, infrastructure expansion plans and more. Well, you‘ve come to the right place!

In this detailed guide, I‘ll provide you with a comprehensive overview of everything you need to know about owning an electric vehicle in Illinois today. We‘ll look at the numbers around charging networks, dig into ownership costs across some of the most popular EV models, summarize Illinois‘ generous rebates and incentives, and discuss what you need to think about before taking the all-electric plunge.

My goal is to synthesize the latest EV research and policy developments in Illinois into an easy-to-digest resource you can leverage to make a well-informed decision around whether an electric vehicle is the right choice for your transportation needs. Let‘s get started!

Overview of Owning an Electric Vehicle in Illinois

Illinois ranks 9th nationally in electric vehicle adoption rates in 2022. Over 35,000 EVs were registered in the state as of September 2022 according to Illinois Secretary of State data. This momentum looks poised to continue thanks to 3 key factors:

  1. Expanding Public Charging Infrastructure – Illinois was recently awarded $148 million in federal NEVI funding to accelerate the buildout of fast charging stations along interstate highways.
  2. Attractive Incentives – State and federal rebates can reduce the upfront purchase price of a new EV by thousands of dollars. Illinois also offers incentives for installing home charging equipment.
  3. Model Availability – From affordable options like the Chevy Bolt to exciting performance buys like the Ford Mustang Mach-E to the latest models from Tesla, Rivian and more, consumers have no shortage of EV choices today.

Now let‘s explore exactly what these developments mean for a prospective EV owner in Illinois when it comes to cost considerations, charging infrastructure access, available incentives and more.

Illinois Charging Infrastructure

Access to reliable public charging and home charging options remains one of the most important factors for drivers considering an EV purchase. Illinois‘ infrastructure is expanding rapidly.

As mentioned above, Illinois was granted $148 million in federal NEVI formula funding over 5 years to build out fast charging infrastructure along federally designated alternative fuel corridors, including Interstates 39, 55, 57, 70, 72, 74, 80, 88 and 90.

Here is a snapshot of what this spending could support annually:

MetricAnnual Funding Output
New DC Fast Charging Sites>100
DC Fast Charger Port Upgrades>800
New Level 2 Charging Sites>400
Number of additional EVs supported annually>100,000

Source: Illinois NEVI Plan

This boost in funding will greatly expand the number of public fast charging options available to EV owners embarking on longer road trips or without access to reliable home charging.

Current Public Charging Network

Charger TypeNo. of Charging SitesNo. of Charging Ports
Level 18897
Level 21,9964,483
DC Fast Charging4641,538

Illinois currently has over 2,500 public charging sites with more than 6,100 ports according to DOE Alternative Fuels Data Center. Over 1,500 of those ports offer DC fast charging. Chicago accounts for 50%+ of statewide charging ports. However central and southern cities like Springfield, Champaign and Carbondale have seen rapid infrastructure buildouts by municipalities and private networks like ChargePoint, EVgo and others looking to enable regional travel.

Cost Breakdown of Owning The Most Popular Electric Vehicles in Illinois

Purchase Price

EV purchase prices continue to reach new lows, although most models still carry premiums over comparable gas vehicles. Incentives can help overcome this gap (more details in the Rebates & Incentives sections below!). Here‘s a look at base MSRP pricing across some of the best-selling EV models in 2022:

EV ModelRangeBase MSRPPrice After $7,500 Federal Tax CreditPrice After Illinois Rebate
Tesla Model 3 RWD272mi$46,990$39,490$35,490
Ford Mustang Mach E247mi$46,895$39,395$35,395
Nissan Leaf149mi$27,800$20,300$16,300
Chevrolet Bolt EV259mi$31,500$24,000$20,000
Hyundai Kona Electric258mi$34,000$26,500$22,500
Volkswagen ID.4208mi$41,230$33,730$29,730

(Tesla purchase prices shown without potential fuel savings that the company markets directly to consumers)

Illinois residents can save between $5,000 to $11,500 on the purchase price of a new electric vehicle thanks to available federal tax credits and state rebates or exemptions.

Charging Costs

EV ModelBattery SizeElectric RangeElectricity Cost (Home)Electricity Cost (Public)
Tesla Model 360-75kWh272-358mi$10-13$23-32
Ford Mach-E68-88kWh247-310mi$12-15$25-37
Nissan Leaf40kWh149mi$7$14
Chevy Bolt EV65kWh259mi$11$23

Based on Illinois‘ average residential electricity rate of 17 cents per kWh and 36 cents per kWh public charging rate.

EV drivers charging at home enjoy significant savings compared to gas vehicles. Electricity costs equate to only $35 for 1,000 miles of driving for efficient models – compared to over $100 for a 30MPG gas car. Public DC fast charging remains more expensive than home rates, but still competes favorably with high gas prices.

Maintenance & Repairs

EVs boast far fewer moving parts and little to no routine maintenance needs compared to internal combustion cars, such as no oil changes. Brakes also tend to last significantly longer thanks to regenerative braking. This translates to reduced operating costs over the life of ownership. According to Consumer Reports, maintenance repair costs average:

  • Electric vehicle: $0.06 per mile
  • Gas-powered vehicle: $0.10 per mile

Over 100,000 miles of driving equal to $4,000 in savings for an electric vehicle. Most automakers also offer at least an 8 year/100k mile battery pack warranty or longer to alleviate any repair concerns. Between lower fueling expenses and reduced maintenance costs, choosing an electric vehicle over 10 years saves Illinois drivers an average of nearly $14,500.

Illinois Electric Vehicle Incentives

Illinois offers EV buyers one of the most attractive incentive landscapes nationwide in the form of rebates, tax exemptions and charging station grants.

State EV Rebates

The Illinois EPA‘s Electric Vehicle Rebate Program provides cashback incentives up to $4,000 for purchasing a new all-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle under $42,500 MSRP. Specific rebate amounts include:

Vehicle PriceRebate Amount
$0 to $14,000$1,500
$14,001 to $32,000$3,000
$32,001 to $42,500$4,000

Over 35,000 Illinois residents have tapped into these savings since the program launched in 2019, lowering their EV purchasing costs by thousands.

Home Charging Equipment Incentives

Illinois also offers generous incentives for installing electric vehicle charging equipment at residences across the state:

Charging EquipmentIncentive
Level 2 Charger: Wall-mount UnitUp to $4,000 grant
Higher Power Charging StationsUp to 80% of hardware costs covered

These savings on home charging equipment combined with federal tax credits on installation costs allow Illinois EV owners to offset up to 90% of costs for residential charging setups.

Other Savings

  • EVs are exempt from Illinois emissions testing requirements, saving ~$20 per year
  • EVs qualify for a discounted $35 annual registration fee (over 80% off)

However, note Illinois does levy a non-highway road usage charge on EVs of $100 upon annual registration.

Key Takeaways on Owning an EV in Illinois

After reviewing the latest infrastructure expansion plans, ownership costs across top models, and details on the state‘s attractive inventives, hopefully you feel empowered in your decision-making process around purchasing an electric vehicle in Illinois.

Here are my main conclusions:

☑ With greater fast charging availability coming soon along major travel corridors like Interstates 55, 80 and 90, range anxiety will continue to dissipate for EV owners in Illinois.

☑ Between federal tax credits, Illinois rebates, reduced registration/testing fees and lower maintenance costs over the vehicle lifetime, the total cost of ownership for an EV proves competitive and often cheaper than comparable gas models.

☑ The economics will only become more compelling as battery ranges continue to climb beyond 300+ miles and new models arrive from Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Volkswagen and others offering sub-$40,000 pre-incentive pricing.

If you have any other questions feel free to reach out! I‘m always happy to chat more about the transition to electric transportation. Wishing you safe, sustainable and smile-inducing miles ahead!

EV Analyst & Illinois Policy Nerd

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