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Coalition wants Michigan incentives for electric vehicle charging stations

Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
An electric vehicle charging station at a cafe in Grand Rapids that was purchased through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

A coalition of businesses, non-profits and environmental groups are working to get more electric vehicle charging stations located in Michigan.

The group “Built by Michigan” is asking voters to petition Governor Rick Snyder to create incentives for installing charging stations. It’s also pushing for the state to buy more electric vehicles and tougher regulations requiring “clean fuel standards”.

Greg Northrup is President of the West Michigan Strategic Alliance. He was part a panel discussion hosted by the group in Grand Rapids Monday night. He’d like to see state or local governments issue bonds to offer as low-interest loans to those willing to invest between $10,000 and $15,000 for each charging station. 

“You can either kind of follow the rest of the heard, and we can have charging stations employed over time. Or we can figure out how to do this quickly and we can take a leadership position."

Northrup says building a network of charging stations will make people more confident about buying electric vehicles. He says a strong domestic market would boost production at advanced battery plants in Midland, Holland, Battle Creek and Muskegon.

Rob Ozar is with the Michigan Public Service Commission’s “plug-in task force” that’s been working to break down barriers to the electric vehicle market.

“There’s few vehicles out there and so the introduction of electric vehicles needs to be very smooth and that there’s good customer experience so the word gets out.”

Ozar says the state has been able to make it affordable for homeowners to get charging stations installed; and pay a lower electricity rate for charging their car. Now he says the MPSC is working on ways that automakers and electric companies can work together to improve customer service.

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station's Enterprise Team. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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