Durbin: Illinois Has The Chance To Become Leader In Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today took to the Senate floor to highlight the exciting progress in electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure in Illinois. On the Senate floor, Durbin spoke about his recent visit to the Rivian plant in Normal, Illinois, ahead of the manufacturing facility beginning production of its inaugural line of electric trucks, SUVs, and delivery vans. Durbin emphasized that Rivian’s new plant, which was redeveloped from an idle Mitsubishi plant, is a viable blueprint for bringing manufacturing and vehicle infrastructure into the 21st century.

“Last Thursday, I visited a town in central Illinois, called Normal. During my visit, I toured Rivian’s new manufacturing plant, where production will soon begin on brand new electric trucks, SUVs, and delivery vans… Not long ago, Mitsubishi had abandoned this plant, costing thousands of Illinoisans their jobs. But the opposite is true today. By the end of 2021, the plant will hum with the work of more than 2,500 employees producing the next generation of vehicles,” said Durbin. “It’s a manufacturing and jobs boom in Normal, made possible by leaders and investors who refuse to be hamstrung by the past. Folks in this town will tell you: infrastructure is about more than just roads and bridges. For them, it’s taking our transportation sector into the next generation.”

During his speech, Durbin spoke about the state’s heightened efforts to set the stage for an EV revolution in the coming years, positioning Illinois as a leader in EV infrastructure. The EV transportation industry and its surrounding infrastructure currently employs more than 5,000 Illinoisans, and a recent report prepared for Advanced Energy Economy by BW Research Partnership projects electric transportation employment in Illinois will grow to more than 9,500 workers by 2024 – an 83 percent jump in just three years.

Durbin continued, “All around Illinois, we see efforts to create this electric vehicle future. Last week, Governor Pritzker and Lion Electric announced plans to open an electric vehicle manufacturing plant in Joliet, Illinois – a $70 million investment that will create more than 700 jobs… A Netherlands-based manufacturer of charging stations, EVBox, set up its U.S. headquarters in Libertyville, Illinois, this past summer. It plans to produce more than 200 fast-charging stations per week… Illinois is poised to play a nationally important role on electric vehicles.”

Durbin also reiterated that the American Jobs Plan (AJP), with its significant investment in infrastructure and child care, would help usher in a new era of EV manufacturing.

Durbin continued, “His [President Biden’s] American Jobs Plan includes $174 billion investment in electric vehicles and charging stations. These funds would support the growth of companies like Rivian and accelerate the installation of charging stations across the country. Imagine a future where you can drive from Normal to Chicago or St. Louis – or anywhere in this country – without burning a drop of gasoline. This is the ‘New Normal’- a place where hardworking Illinoisans produce next-generation vehicles, and companies come together with local leaders to move us toward a cleaner, stronger economy.”

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV stations.

In addition to the $174 billion investment in EVs and charging stations, the AJP calls for the electrification of 20 percent of school buses, the use of federal procurement to electrify the federal fleet, and $15 billion for climate research and development demonstration projects like energy storage.

More than 28,000 EVs are currently registered in Illinois among the 1.7 million EVs in the U.S. Recent projections predict that the number of EVs in the U.S. could reach 20 million in the next nine years.