Electric vehicle charging stations coming to northern Michigan

Aug 10, 2020

 

Thirty-six charging stations for electric vehicles will make their debut throughout Michigan
Credit Flickr user Quinn Dombrowski

A network of fast-charging stations for electric vehicles is coming to northern Michigan over the next year, thanks to $1.7 million in grants from the state.

The initiative, which will bring additional charging stations to small metropolitan areas like Traverse City as well as rural communities, comes from the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, as part of a plan to build up electric vehicle infrastructure throughout the state.

 


The stations, located outside various businesses, will be equipped with chargers that provide more than 60 miles of range in 20 minutes.

“So no matter where you live or where you’re trying to get to, you’ll eventually be able to have confidence that you’re going to find a charging station,” says Nick Assendelft, with EGLE.

As of last year, electric vehicles made up less than 2 percent of car sales nationwide, and less than 1 percent in Michigan, according to the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers. 

Meanwhile, the transportation sector accounts for the largest share of fossil fuel emissions in the country. Major deterrents for potential buyers include fear of running out of power and a lack of charging stations, according to a survey of more than one thousand drivers conducted by Volvo.

The state hopes to ease these anxieties for its drivers.

Optimal EV charger locations in Michigan, according to a study conducted by EGLE and Michigan State University
Credit Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

“Vehicle manufacturers are moving big time towards EVs,” says Assendelft. “We thought this is a good way to help facilitate that adoption.”

The chargers will be peppered throughout the region: in Ludington, Traverse City, Gaylord, Kalkaska, Grayling, Mackinaw City, Rogers City and other rural communities. Four locations across the state are already up and running, including one the J&H Family Store in Cadillac. The cost of installation is split between the local utility, the host site, and the state. 

Funding for the state’s grant program comes from a settlement from Volkswagen. The company paid the state nearly $10 million after it was caught cheating on emissions tests for its diesel vehicles. 

The state has invested in other electric vehicle projects, including a fleet of electric school buses for several districts last fall. Grant money remains available for additional charging stations. 

“Help build out this infrastructure,”  Assendelft says to interested communities.