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Electric car owners will be able to charge batteries at 14 state parks soon

Whitmer posing at charger with a Rivian vehicle
State of Michigan
Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced a new public-private partnership to install chargers at 14 state parks in Michigan

Michigan will soon have charging stations for electric vehicles in 14 state parks, in addition to a fish hatchery, thanks to a public-private partnership among the state, EV company Rivian, electric transmission company ITC, and Consumers Energy.

Trevor Pawl is Michigan's chief mobility officer. He said there's been a dramatic increase recently in new EV sales — nearly 5 percent of total vehicle sales in the U.S. — in the past few months. 

"More people are buying electric vehicles in Michigan, and with that happening we have to make sure they don't have range anxiety, that they can take these vehicles anywhere in the state."

He said the larger vision eventually is a circuit of EV chargers in a loop all along Michigan's Great Lakes shorelines.

Rivian will cover the cost of the charging stations at the state parks. In a statement, the company credited public-private partnership for the ability to provide charging at no cost to park visitors.

"As we ramp up installation of Rivian Waypoints from coast to coast, we look forward to seeing and hearing the stories of the new adventures this infrastructure makes possible," the statement said.

Electric transmission company ITC will cover the electricity fees for people who use the chargers two years.

And Consumers Energy will pay for any necessary upgrades to the electrical system in the parks.

The first two charging stations have already been installed at Holland State Park.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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