From the Motor City to Electric Avenue?

By Jennifer L. Colagiovanni posted 09-23-2019 08:22


Do you suffer from range anxiety? If you drive an electric vehicle (EV) in Michigan, particularly outside the metro Detroit area, chances are you do. Range anxiety is generally defined as worry on the part of a person driving an electric vehicle that he or she will run out of battery power before reaching his or her destination or the next charging station. But a bipartisan package of bills recently introduced in the Michigan Legislature aims to ease range anxiety and encourage EV adoption through improvements to the state’s EV infrastructure.

House Bills 4786-4789 and Senate Bills 406-409 would create a widespread vehicle charging network by allowing the state to install or lease space for EV charging stations in state parks and park-and-ride lots. The revenue from these chargers would then go back into the state park system. The bills would also offer tax incentives to businesses and multi-unit housing facilities to install charging stations on their property. Since it can take 30 minutes to several hours to charge an EV, having charging stations conveniently located in places where people park and plan to stay for a period of time—restaurants, apartment complexes, and state parks—adds a level of convenience to driving (and charging) an EV. The legislation would also create an Electric Vehicle Council tasked with developing plans to further evaluate and expand the state’s charging network.

As the costs of EVs decrease with rapidly improving technology, and with recent reports of major investments in EVs from GM and Ford, a statewide EV infrastructure just might be the next logical step for the auto capital. And who knows, maybe range anxiety might just go the way of the horse and buggy in the Motor City.