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The Fight Over Chicago Electric Car Charging Stations

“There was a lot of profanity, and then I slammed the phone down,” says Brian Howe, whose company, JNS Power & Control Systems, had installed about 40% of Chicago’s charging stations and was owed more than $161,000 by 350Green. This was in 2011, and 350Green had just called to tell him they were selling out. He’d be paid pennies on the dollar for what he was owed. If he was luck. Howe feared that if 350Green were sold, it would put him under … until he had an idea. “Then it was like this light bulb went off. Why don’t I (buy it)?”

If you’re one of the millions of people who’s watched the Untouchables, you can practically hear Sean Connery mumble out “Thatch the sheeca-ahgo way.” to Kevin Costner’s Elliot Ness as you read that. Howe, in typical Chicago fashion, didn’t like the deal he was offered, and made a counter that- as of Tuesday, couldn’t be refused. That’s when a court ruled in Howe’s favor, stating that Howe was now the rightful owner of Chicago’s 350Green charging stations.

How has fully taken over the 350Green project, which was selected by the City of Chicago in 2011 to install some 280 charging stations throughout the city of Chicago, including 73 “fast enough to charge a vehicle in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee”. Now, that’s on Howe, who “will be entering the multi-million dollar electric vehicle charging station market with an eye on continued growth in the sector,” according to a release issued to the Chicago Tribune last month.


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