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Pritzker signs electric vehicle legislation, aims to make Illinois a leader in ‘clean transportation revolution’

The Reimagining Electric Vehicles in Illinois Act provides incentives for electric vehicle production across Illinois to help reach a 2030 goal of putting 1 million electric cars on the road.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at Rock Valley College Advanced Technology Center on Tuesday before signing the Reimagining Electric Vehicles in Illinois Act Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at Rock Valley College Advanced Technology Center on Tuesday before signing the Reimagining Electric Vehicles in Illinois Act.
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Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday signed legislation aimed at drawing electric vehicle manufacturers to the state, a law he said will help Illinois usher in an era of “electric school buses, electric municipal buses, electric delivery trucks, electric 18-wheelers and so much more.”

“With this new focus on electric vehicles, our state can also become a leader in the clean transportation revolution,” Pritzker said at the bill signing in Rockford Tuesday morning.

The Reimagining Electric Vehicles in Illinois Act provides incentives for electric vehicle production across Illinois to help reach a 2030 goal of putting one million electric cars on the road.

The new law includes tax credits and exemptions for electric vehicle manufacturers and projects ranging from income tax withholding to credits for training costs and allowing local jurisdictions to ease property taxes for projects focused on electric-powered cars.

The legislation also offers incentives for employers to locate their facilities in communities that have faced disinvestment historically.

Pritzker said the act is intended to attract more electric vehicle makers, charging stations and automotive parts manufacturers helping Illinois “become one of the leading [electric vehicle] hubs in the entire nation.”

“Not only can we lead in the fight against climate change, we can also create thousands of jobs for hardworking Illinoisans in the process,” Pritzker said. “The Reimagining Electric Vehicles Act is about acknowledging that there doesn’t need to be a trade-off between a cleaner environment and more jobs. We can do both, and today we take a giant leap forward in that quest.”

During his trip overseas for the U.N.’s climate conference, Pritzker told the Chicago Sun-Times last week he had two goals: Tout the electric vehicle incentive legislation and meet with companies and business leaders in the industry to attract them to Illinois.

Pritzker said the state’s location, workforce, transportation system — namely being a hub for major railroads — make Illinois “one of the most attractive in the country” for electric vehicle makers and the governor felt he and his team were “successful in planting seeds.”

The law Pritzker signed Tuesday follows the Legislature’s passage of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act in September.

That legislation, which overhauls the state’s energy sector, puts Illinois on a path to 100% clean energy by 2050 through a mix of providing subsidies to nuclear plants and setting closure timelines for coal and natural gas firing facilities among other things.

The subsidies include nearly $700 million over five years to Exelon nuclear plants. Municipal coal-burning plants — such as Prairie State and Springfield’s City Water, Light and Power — must cut their emissions by 45% by 2035 before closing 10 years later unless they can generate green hydrogen or use similar technology to get to zero carbon emissions.

At the signing of the climate and jobs act, Pritzker said that law helps the state do everything it can “to fight, to stop, and even reverse, the damage that’s been done to our climate.

“As of today, Illinois is a force for good, for an environmental future we can be proud of,” Pritzker said.