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In Chicago, the Electric Citi Bikes Charge at the Docks, Saving Money and Reducing Pollution

Thanks to Michael Toner, who first alerted Streetsblog about the charging stations in this tweet.

The Divvy bike-share system just got a bit cooler.

According to the city of Chicago and Divvy, the network recently became the first U.S. bike share system to offer on-street charging docks for its electric bikes. There are now five electrified Divvy charging stations that can charge the newer gray e-bikes rolled out last December (but not the older black e-bike models.)

The new charging stations are not to be confused with "E-stations." The latter are simply glorified bike racks where the electric Divvies can be parked using their built-in cable locks. That allows the user to avoid paying a fee for parking outside of a station on a regular bike rack or pole. E-stations are the only kind of stations currently being installed in outlying neighborhoods.

Electric Divvies at one of the new E-stations in North Lawndale. Photo: Steven Vance
Electric Divvies at one of the E-stations in North Lawndale. Photo: Steven Vance

The new charging stations are supposed to make it easier to find a fully-charged e-bike, and make it less necessary for employees to drive around in vans swapping out batteries in the cycles, reducing the system’s carbon footprint. Of course this begs the question, was it previously an option to use e-bikes and trailers to exchange the batteries, instead of burning gasoline?

"Chicago continues to lead the nation in bike-share and micro-mobility innovation," said Chicago Department of Transportation commissioner Gia Biagi in a statement. "This shows our commitment to innovation to drive better customer experience and reducing our carbon footprint."

More charging stations will be added but for starters there are five charging stations, all of them located in the Lakeview, Lincoln Park, or the West Loop, mostly near Halsted Street:

    • Wilton Avenue and Diversey Parkway
    • Lincoln Avenue and Roscoe Street
    • Bissell Street and Armitage Avenue
    • Green Street and Randolph Street
    • Morgan Street and Lake Street
The locations of the five charging stations. Map: John Greenfield via Google Maps
The locations of the five charging stations. Map: John Greenfield via Google Maps

Caroline Samponaro, Lyft's vice president of transit, bikes, and scooter policy at said she sees the charging stations as a “game changer” for Divvy and bike-share systems across the globe. “Riders will appreciate finding more e-bikes charged and ready to go when they want them.”

Last year the Divvy system saw more than 400,000 new riders and broke ridership records with over 5.5 million trips. So we expect the charging stations, as well as the planned expansion of the network to cover the entire city this year, will be much appreciated.

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