PARK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — More and more people headed to Michigan beaches this summer will be driving electric vehicles, and now they will have more charging options.
Thirty EV charging stations are being placed at various state parks starting this summer.
The effort is the result of a partnership between the state, Consumers Energy, nonprofit charging station provider Adopt a Charger, startup EV maker Rivian and others to provide power to the growing EV market.
“Part of this growing interest is thanks to initiatives like the one we’re unveiling today, which are helping to address range anxiety as people are making that transition and making sure that we leave our planet cleaner and greener for future generations,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who traveled to Holland State Park Thursday for the unveiling of two of the charging stations.
The level two chargers can top off EV batteries in just a few hours.
The partnerships allow charging to be free for both EV driver and taxpayer.
Consumers Energy is installing the stations.
“What we’ve been doing is working with the state to find the best locations here and at parks across the state and then we make sure the electricity, the power’s in place so that we can get these connected and get these online as fast as possible,” Consumers spokesman Brian Wheeler said. “You’re really seeing a transformational moment here. We expect by 2030 that we’re going to be serving 1 million here in Michigan.”
As the popularity of EVs grows, so does the challenge of finding a place to charge them. The U.S. Department of Energy says there were just over 50,000 charging stations in the U.S. at the end of 2021.
Questions remain about the current electric infrastructure’s ability to power more. A recent report from the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, the nonprofit that operates power grids in 15 states including Michigan, says to expect rolling black- and brownouts this summer as demand for electricity exceeds output and utilities like Consumers phase out most coals-powered plants.
Wheeler said the Jackson-based utility can keep up with demand from EVs. The key is the timing of charges.
“Usually if you have one at home, you’re going to charge it while you’re sleeping. That’s the time where the grid has available energy,” Wheeler said. “We build out our power grid for the busy day, the busiest time of the year, that peak afternoon on a hot summer day. But that means we have a lot of capacity overnight.”