The City of Chicago has put so much time and money into supporting electric cars that Nissan has decided to reward Illinois by moving forward the planned Chicago launch of its Leaf electric hatchback to this Fall. 

In February this year, Gov. Quinn of Illinois signed a bill investing $1 million in electric car infrastructure throughout the Chicagoland area, installing a network of 280 electric vehicle charging stations throughout the city and surrounding areas. 

The charging network -- installed in collaboration with commercial electric charging infrastructure 350Green -- includes plans for 73 rapid charging stations and 207 Level 2 fast charging stations.  

“Governor Quinn, Mayor Emmanuel and other visionary Chicago-area leaders have paved the way for mass market adoption of electric cars in their community,” said Scott Becker, senior vice president of Administration and Finance at Nissan North America. “Chicagoland consumers want a transportation solution that uses no gas and produces no emissions, and the introduction of the Nissan leaf to Illinois makes that a reality.”

2011 Nissan Leaf 4-door HB SL Side Exterior View

2011 Nissan Leaf 4-door HB SL Side Exterior View

Illinois also offers up to $4,000 of rebates to each person purchasing a qualifying electric vehicle. When combined with the $7,500 federal tax credit for electric vehicle purchases, Illinois residents can now get up to $11,500 off the sticker price of a qualifying plug-in vehicle.

Nissan’s decision to move its Leaf launch plans for Chicago forward is a smart one. With purchase incentives better than those in California, a charging infrastructure rivaling those of the Pacific Northwest and a high number of affluent, tech-savvy consumers Nissan’s all-electric family hatchback should prove popular.

Chicago will also be the first city with extreme cold weather temperatures where the Nissan Leaf will be sold.  We’re interested to see how its cold weather package copes with the bitter wind-chill, lake-effect snow and frigid days. 



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