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Even Small Towns See Demand For Electric-Car Charging


2014 Nissan Leaf

2014 Nissan Leaf

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Small-town America is all about quaint Main Streets, mom'n'pop stores, and... electric-car charging stations?

While major cities like New York are working to encourage the use of electric cars with public charging stations, some smaller municipalities are seeing demand for them too.

One example is Naperville, Illinois.

A suburb of Chicago with an estimated population of 143,684, Naperville's sole charging station has proved so popular that the local government now plans to install two more, according to the Naperville Sun (via ChargedEVs).

The station was installed in 2012 and was free to use for one year, so officials could gauge usage. They soon found electric-car owners complaining that they couldn't get access because of the high demand.

2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV

2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV

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Naperville project manager Caitlin Marcon told the Sun that drivers of electric cars would often have to park and wait their turn, which could have at least provided a small boost to the local economy.

Even after a $1.50 fee was instituted, officials said they still saw strong demand from both residents and visitors.

It all shows that electric cars can thrive outside of large cities.

Illinois is also home to the town of Normal, which hopes to become "EV Town" through a combination of electric-car purchase incentives and the establishment of a robust charging infrastructure.

The towns are far enough apart--over 100 miles--that drivers living in one can't charge in another, highlighting the need for local groups to take charge (no pun intended) of the infrastructure.

While a handful of cities and town are currently hotbeds of electric-car enthusiasm, an expansive network of charging stations will still be needed for more-widespread national adoption of electric cars.

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