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Environmental groups like DTE's plan to encourage electric vehicle adoption

An electric car charger with a car in the background
K?rlis Dambr?ns
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Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg
DTE's proposal would encourage companies to install fast chargers along highways.

Environmental groups say they welcome DTE Energy's proposal for $13 million in rebates to offset the cost of electric vehicle charging stations.

Some of the rebates will be for home chargers for individual EV owners. Rebates will also be offered for what's known as "level 2" chargers at businesses. The largest rebates will be for companies that install fast-chargers, which can charge an advanced battery to about 80% in 20 minutes.

Robert Kelter is with the Environmental Law and Policy Center. He says right now, not very many people own electric vehicles. He says having a string of fast chargers along major highways in the state is key to make them more popular.

"It's just building a level of comfort that gives customers knowledge they can drive their EV virtually anywhere, and not getting stuck without a charging station."

Kelter thinks companies will be interested in installing fast chargers, most likely along I-94 and I-75, even though electric vehicle ownership rates are low.  

He says after all, "Companies built cell phone towers before many people had cell phones. And I think it's the same with electric vehicle charging stations."

Consumers Energy recently submitted its own $7.5 million plan for EV rebates. The Michigan Public Service Commission has to approve the proposals.

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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