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ROSEMONT, IL- Spending the day working and writing near O'Hare airport today I set out to discover "How" I could come out of the city and keep my car charge and stay driving on electric only. What I found was remarkable, from free valet and charging to opportunity charging everywhere, Rosemont proved to be EV friendly for me.
Before leaving my house last night to spend the night with a close friend close to where I was working the next day. I decide to gab the extension cord I use to plug in my car via 110 volt at home hoping to find a place to grab an opportunity charge somewhere since I depleted my battery from a whole days worth of driving. However at my first attempt the plug in I found was not strong enough to turn the charger on. This is the first time I noticed this and believe it was an amp problem but let it go and left it overnight dead.
In the morning I began researching places to charge it up and found that Rivers Casio in Rosemont offers EV Charging for free. Not only is it free but they will Valet the car for you for free (5 dollar savings) but they charge it up for free (1 and half dollar savings with my ComEd rates in Chicago). So I dropped it off went and did some work for about 4 hours. When I returned I played my strategy at Roulette and won 2 dollars and used that to tip the Valet on the way out with my volt fully charged! If you are planning to venture into Rosemont with your EV or plug in Hybrid knowing this awesome peace of info will make you really feel like you beat the Casio for once!
After I picked up my car from the Valet, I went to was my car and do some light shopping at target before searching for some other places I could park for free and get an opportunity charge. I found three options that make sense, the outlet mall, parking garage off River Rd and most hotel parking garages.
The best place to get an "Opportunity Charge (OC)" was the Fashion Outlets of Chicago. I went there looking for two things, a level two charger made for EV's out hot outlets I could plug into. Although I didn't search every spot at the mall, I didn't see any EV charging station paid or not in there parking ramp. I did see plenty of outlets. The first outlet didn't work and I tried a couple more find that both of those worked fine to charge my car. So on a long day of shopping, dining or even indoor sky diving you could park and charge your car for free*.
The other spot is to the west of River Rd after crossing over Higgins going north. I only found on outlet and it is on the ground level. It was here that I charged my car to completion after running my errands this afternoon. It working and I left my car there for about 4 hours. It looks like a new garage and there where not signs forbidding parking.
The other option might be best for those of you that might come from out of town or in need of getting away to a hotel. While I was charging my car at the undisclosed place on River Rd, I walked thought many parking garages of hotel looking for either level two charging for EV's or for some good OC's. I found zero level two chargers but many 110v outlets that were hot and ready for use. In fact I saw another Volt being charged this way at the Double Tree. I talked to many hotel personal and didn't fin one hotel in Rosemont offering discounted parking of any other incentive to park your EV. So bring a cord to and when you wake up you will be fully charged to go on your downtown adventure and when you do don't forget to stop by Halsted and Madison for a free top up at Walgreens.
Overall, Rosemont was okay for EV operators who are adventurous and don't mind taking a chance! I think Rosemont along with every city especially Chicago need to do more to support and encourage more people to mare more sensible choices for themselves and the planet. We should build EV parks like the two Rosemont parking garages could have at least two level two chargers and provide energy for free or at a seriously reasonable rate of 20 to 25 cents a Kwh. Then as the demand grew more could be added. If the Fashion Outlets had at least 6 level two chargers, that would be a great start. I am excited to see the charges over the next couple of years, especially after people notice the true benefits of owning and electric car.
The best bet is Rivers Casino's five star treatment for EV drivers. If you are a compulsive Gambler, you might want to buy an EV so you can gamble the saving away too! I have used not quite 3 gallons of Gas this week and got most of my electricity for free!