Oprah may have left town and packed up her "You get a car!" philanthropic ways, but that's not stopping Nissan from injecting the windy city with a little auto excitement. Responding to an overwhelming customer demand for its all-electric Leaf vehicles, the Japanese car maker is accelerating the line's rollout to Chicago residents, with the first models to be available this fall. The launch will be bolstered by a planned 280 EV charging stations, funded in part by a pledged $1 million from the state and an additional $1 million grant. If you're living in the second city to our north and haven't yet hitched your ride to the electric hatchback caravan, now might be the time.
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08.25.2011 , CHICAGO, IL
NISSAN LEAF COMING TO CHICAGO THIS FALL
Accelerated timing responds to "visionary" state and municipal initiatives, investments
Today, Nissan Americas officials joined Gov. Pat Quinn and representatives from the City of Chicago to announce the Illinois rollout of the all-electric Nissan LEAF for this fall. Nissan has accelerated the launch of Nissan LEAF in Illinois in response to strong consumer demand and supported by plans that include an extensive electric car charging network in Chicago and surrounding suburbs in the coming year.

"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, Administration and Finance, Nissan Americas. "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."

In February, Gov. Quinn announced an investment of $1 million in capital funding to install state-of-the-art charging infrastructure for electric cars throughout the Chicagoland area, matching an additional $1 million in Clean Cities Grant funding secured by the City of Chicago. In total, the project will result in a network of 280 electric vehicle charging stations. Illinois also offers up to $4,000 in rebates after the purchase of electric and alternative technology vehicles – in addition to the $7,500 federal tax credit – making Nissan LEAF even more affordable to Illinois residents.

"Illinois is laying the groundwork for electric vehicles, and our efforts are paying off," Gov. Quinn said. "By investing in electric vehicle technology, both the State of Illinois and Nissan are making transportation in our state more efficient, sustainable and affordable."

"Nissan's entry into the Chicago market is exactly what the city had in mind when we developed our EV infrastructure plan," said Karen Weigert, Chicago's Chief Sustainability Officer. "With the 40 Level 2 charging stations to date already installed, Chicago is well on its way to having the most robust EV infrastructure in the nation."

The City of Chicago working with 350Green helped spearhead an aggressive EV infrastructure plan that called for 73 DC quick-charging stations and 207 Level 2 stations to be installed at public parking garages, grocery stores, tollway oases, etc. by the end of 2011. Thus far, 40 stations have been installed and, when complete, the system will provide the Chicagoland area with the most extensive infrastructure for electric vehicles in the U.S.

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Nissan's Leaf rollout speeds up in Chicago this fall