Electric Vehicles in Illinois

In recent years, Illinois has increasingly become a hot spot for electric vehicles. IIllinois now has the ninth highest number of vehicle registrations.

Electric vehicles fit into Illinois’ statewide clean energy goals and new green legislation. Overseen by the Illinois Commerce Commission, Illinois launched a plan in 2021 to put 1 million EVs on the state's roads by 2030, totaling over a fifth of all cars. Just in 2023, Illinois passed the EV Charging Act, which requires new homes to be built with basic electrical infrastructure to support EV charging and guarantees renters and condo owners a right to charge. The dramatic increase in EV registrations has continued since 2020. As of 7/15/23, there are 76,071 electric vehicles registered in Illinois. That’s a 43% increase since this article was first published in 2022.

Image: Illinois Secretary of State Data

Illinois’ electric vehicle boom is also in part due to the state’s support of advocacy changes and partnerships with nonprofits like Chicago Area Clean Cities, now known as Illinois Alliance for Clean Transportation. The organization has received support from the U.S. Department of Energy since 1994, and has met challenges and transformed transportation in a six-county region that includes Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties. Through nearly three decades of advocacy work, Illinois Alliance for Clean Transportation has supported the growth of access to electric vehicles, and expanded environmental changes such as:

  • Displacing more than 200 million gasoline-gallon equivalents of petroleum and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by 159,000 tons.
  • Promoting the use of more than 13,000 alternative fuel, electric and hybrid vehicles by Chicago area stakeholders
  • Helping to create 200 alternative fuel stations and nearly 1,700 electric vehicle charging stations in the Chicago area.

Illinois incentives and programs

While a large concentration of electric vehicles fall in the greater Chicago area, the state is also pouring energy into expanding electric transportation statewide. In line with the federal administration’s goal to have half of all new cars sold in the U.S. be electric by 2030, Illinois is enacting plans to encourage drivers to make the switch to electric.

In the last year, Illinois lawmakers enacted legislation to incentivize residents; one big incentive program lies within the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), which has a goal to get 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030. CEJA includes provisions to phase out carbon emissions from the energy and transportation sectors. The Illinois EPA is directed in CEJA to establish rebate and grant programs for electric vehicles and charging stations and oversee the phase-out of fossil fuel-fired electrical generation units. 

Beginning July 1, 2022, a resident of Illinois that purchases an all-electric passenger vehicle in Illinois will be able to apply for a $4,000 rebate. Unfortunately, the rebate application cycle is not currently open, but prospective buyers can sign up for the EV Listserv to get notified when the next round of funding begins and applications become available. Residents must apply for the rebate within 90-days of the vehicle purchase date, and must retain ownership of the vehicle for a minimum of a year immediately after the vehicle purchase date.

In line with the Illinois Commerce Commission-approved Beneficial Electrification Plans, Illinois has also embarked on a charging incentive program. The state will provide funding for up to 80% of the cost for public and private organizations alike to install and maintain charging stations, which will help the state reach its goals to increase access across the state. Applications will be posted to the Illinois EPA website when available.

Special considerations in Illinois

Real-world electric vehicle range depends on real-life conditions such as terrain, load, speed, and outdoor temperature all directly related to the vehicle’s efficiency on any given trip. Cold weather is the most dangerous for electric vehicles, and is commonly known as the most notorious range-killer. EV owners often assume range loss in cold temperatures is due to reduced battery performance, but in fact the real culprit is the auxiliary heater (and similarly, the air conditioner in the summer). 

Studies have noted that the optimal temperature for EVs is 70 F. At this optimal temperature, electrical vehicles are achieving 115% above their rated range, meaning most owners are exceeding the rated range of the vehicle in ideal temperature conditions. The farther above or below the temperature to the optimal 70 F, the more range is hindered.

Illinois has a widely varying climate due to its mid-continental location and nearly 400-mile length. Most of Illinois has a humid continental climate with hot, humid summers and cool to very cold winters. The southernmost part of the state, from about Carbondale southward, and the eastern suburbs of St. Louis, has a humid subtropical climate with more moderate winters.

With such varied weather, cars will lose range in both the hot summers and cold winters, and may need to be recharged more frequently in the days of extreme climate.

Illinois gas prices are slightly above the national average, meaning that electric vehicle drivers will save even more than drivers in other states. Current national average as of July 2023 is $3.59. The average in Illinois is $3.83, with the highest average in the state, unsurprisingly, in Cook county at $4.16.

The average national commercial electricity rate has risen significantly since this article was first written, and it is currently 12.22 cents per kWh , compared to the Illinois average of 11.74 cents per kWh. Meanwhile, the national average residential rate is 16.11 cents per kWh, compared to the Illinois average of 17.86. The commercial price is only 4% lower than the national average, while the residential price is about 11% above the national average.

Charging infrastructure

As of July 2023, Illinois ranks #16 among the states in the number of charging stations. There are 1,095 public charging stations in Illinois, with a total of 2,843 ports. There are 1,984 Level 2 ports and 856 DC Fast charging ports. There are about 602 charging stations in Chicago, 520 Level 2 and 82 DC Fast chargers.

Note that the Chicago Sun Times recently listed the number of charging stations at 850 plus, and that PlugShare lists considerably more stations than the AFDC.

Jumping to a million EVs will require more than a few new charging stations, and Illinois’ market is ripe for continued exponential upward trends.

Is Illinois a good market for used EVs?

In summer 2023, the used EV inventory in Illinois has risen to hover between fourth and fifth highest in the nation, neck and neck with Georgia and Washington State. The average used EV price in the state is $39,000, compared to the national average of $40,400. Illinois used to be a moderately high priced market, but now falls under the national average. 

  • CA
  • TX
  • FL
  • IL
  • GA
  • WA
  • VA
  • NY
  • NC
AVG Used EV Price
  • $34,484.17
  • $39,081.34
  • $39,913.79
  • $38,990.55
  • $43,631.97
  • $35,476.29
  • $37,851.75
  • $37,779.14
  • $37,472.25

In terms of what models are in inventory, used Model 3 and Model S Teslas make up about ¼ of all the stock, and Teslas are overall around 40% of used inventory. In order of popularity, the Model 3 follows just behind the Model S, and then the Model Y and Model X, neck and neck.

Like in much of the midwest, there are a lot of used GMs and Fords available, too. Together, they make up another 20% of available brands.

On a model level, the Ford Mustang Mach-E and the Nissan LEAF are the next most popular. The only hybrids to make the top 10 are the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and lower down, the Chevy Volt. All the other most popular models are fully electric. This may be because the used inventory for hybrids has been bought up already, or because owners are holding on to them until more new vehicles are available. Or, perhaps, both new and used markets are now trending toward battery EVs, making them more ubiquitous than the previously very popular hybrids.

Make and Model
  • Tesla Model S
  • Tesla Model 3
  • Nissan LEAF
  • Ford Mustang Mach-E
  • Tesla Model Y
  • Tesla Model X
  • Pacifica Hybrid
  • Chevrolet Bolt EV
  • Audi e-tron
  • Chevrolet Volt
% of used inventory
  • 13.7%
  • 11.7%
  • 8.5%
  • 8.2%
  • 7.5%
  • 7.1%
  • 6.4%
  • 5.8%
  • 4%
  • 3.9%

Another interesting trend comes from looking at model years. In recent years, there has been a shift in the used EV market towards a higher percentage of newer EVs. In part, this is a vestige of the anomalous used EV market the past few years. Drivers were able to resell, or "flip" lightly used cars and make back more than their original purchase price.

This also points to the fact that many EV drivers are eager for the newest technology, even before the traditional three-year period.

Make and Model
  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020
  • 2021
  • 2022
# in inventory
  • 1%
  • 2.5%
  • 1.8%
  • 4.5%
  • 7.5%
  • 6.6%
  • 9.7%
  • 11.7%
  • 11.9%
  • 21.3%
  • 18%

Recurrent Fleet Statistics

Recurrent tracks 289 vehicles in the state of Illinois - 269 of which are full battery electric, and 20 of which are plug-in hybrids. For the battery electric vehicles, the average daily mileage is just over 30 miles - meaning that almost any used EV could easily suit daily driving needs for an Illinois driver. 

The average EPA range for EVs in the Recurrent fleet is 255 miles. Today, those same vehicles get an average real range of  238 miles, which means that they have held on to 93% of their original range. This may be due to the relatively cool climate that a lot of the state has for most of the year. 

18% of the vehicles Recurrent tracks are from 2018 and another 18% are from 2021. Almost the same percentage are model year 2019. Tesla models make up 63% of our fleet, which is about in-line with the used inventory in the state. Chevrolets are 20%, and Nissans are 5%. 

If you remove Teslas from our calculations, there are 85 BEVs and 20 PHEVs that we follow. The average daily mileage drops to 24 miles, but the percentage of original EPA range retained stays at 93%. Non-Tesla vehicles seem to lose range at the same rate as Tesla vehicles in Illinois. However, when you look at the age of Non-Tesla EVs, 23% are from 2017, meaning that they are a proportionally older cohort. After Tesla, Chevrolets make up 55% of the Recurrent fleet, followed by Nissans and Fords.