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Michigan announces new details in EV charging station partnership

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State of Michigan
Michigan Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist speaks at an event announcing the expansion of a partnership to install electric vehicle chargers in Southeast Michigan.

Michigan has new details about a new partnership to expand the state’s electric vehicle charging network.

The state will be working with the company Volta Charging and utility DTE Energy to place a handful of stations at Kroger locations. Officials said they'll go in underserved areas around southeast Michigan.

Kelsey Peterson is the manager of transportation electrification at DTE. She said choosing a high-visibility spot for the stations matters since many people don’t have home chargers.

“Seeing chargers available in the public ... they have an option then to actually top off while they're out running errands without having to make additional stops," Peterson said. "This gives them the confidence in the refueling and addresses range anxiety to help them convert to EVs with their next purchase.”

The new stations will include some fast chargers that can fill a battery to 80% in an estimated 15 to 45 minutes.

The partnership calls for them to be installed in Krogers in Lapeer, Southgate, Westland, and Roseville.

Volta policy communications head Kevin Samy said there won’t be a “one-stop shop” for filling all future charging needs.

But he said companies are getting more creative. For example, Volta charging stations have large-screen displays that can show information or advertisements.

“We’re taking ad revenue and now we’re able to utilize that to get more chargers in the ground. And I think that’s what’s really unique about a model like ours," Samy said. "I’m hopeful that many more innovative models show up that are able to expand the footprint."

He pointed out the screens can also educate the public about electric vehicle programs or show PSAs. He said that means governments can use education budgets and other funding sources to help install them.

“It’s kind of two or three for one and that’s what really makes an innovative model like this really attractive,” Samy said. “It’s a manifestation of good policy in terms of private and public collaboration.”

State officials say this all adds up to preparing Michigan’s economy for the future.

Charlie Tyson is with Michigan’s Office of Future Mobility and Electrification.

“As electric vehicle prices go down, we can bring more manufacturing of batteries to Michigan and increase the number of electric vehicles that are produced here. We hope that can really spur the adoption of electric vehicles,” Tyson said.

Officials expect the new Volta charging stations to go up within a year.

DTE Energy is a corporate sponsor of Michigan Radio.

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