EV backers hail proposed state law to expand charging access

LANSING–Michigan environmental groups are backing newly introduced legislation that would expand Michigan’s infrastructure for electric vehicle charging, removing some of the anxiety around road trips in an EV.

The backers also pointed ot a new report showing Michigan stands to gain tens of thousands of new jobs in the clean transportation industry with supportive economic development policies.

Backing the bill are the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, a renewable energy industry group; Clean Fuels Michigan, an advocacy group for alternative fuels including biofuels, hydrogen, propane, natural gas, and EVs; and MICHauto, a Detroit Regional Chamber mobility industry group.

Rep. Sharon MacDonell. Michigan House Democrats photo.

“By giving Michiganders more confidence that they’ll never be far from a charging station, passing Right to Charge will help Michigan meet the Governor’s target of 50% of all new vehicles sold being EVs by 2030,” said state Rep. Sharon MacDonell, D-Troy. “I am proud to have crafted this legislation with the help of EIBC, environmental groups, MICH Auto, and other stakeholders.”

The legislation, HB 4706, allows charging station operators to re-sell electricity to EV owners without requiring them to be regulated as utilities, codifying statewide what is already allowed across most of the state by the Michigan Public Service Commission. This step can help provide incentives to invest in and build charging stations for EVs, because charging stations can then access federal National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure funding.

“With more Michiganders driving and relying on electric vehicles, building more places to charge EVs and ensure motorists can get from A to B safely and with peace of mind is simply common sense,” said Clean Fuels Michigan Executive Director Jane McCurry. “This policy fix will further demonstrate to the EV charging industry that Michigan is open for business.”

Michigan EV motorists have limited access to charging stations, compared with those in other states. Michigan currently has 200 public DC fast charging stations. In 2022, Michigan had 152, a 29% increase from 2021. Nationally, the number of DCFC stations increased by 33 percent that year.

“Just as we set up gas stations to cater to conventional vehicles, Michigan should also position ourselves for the future by serving the growing number of Michiganders with electric vehicles on the road, which will in turn help grow Michigan’s electric vehicle sector,” said Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council President Laura Sherman. “Michigan EIBC is excited to support this legislation, which will enable the expansion of charging stations across Michigan, creating jobs across the industry in manufacturing, installation, and maintenance.”

Driving distances from a charge varies by make and model. Charging an EV at a station at home or commercial site can deliver a range of up to 60 miles per charging hour. Newer public DCFC stations, which can charge some vehicles with as high as 800 volts, can take as little as 20 to 30 minutes to charge a vehicle to 80%.

“Electric vehicles are a vital solution to making Michigan the center of our automotive future, so building out the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles in Michigan is an important step,” MICHauto Director for Government and Community Affairs Paul Corbett. “Removing barriers and expanding access to more charging stations throughout the Great Lakes State can help grow Michigan jobs, support Michigan businesses and attract high-tech talent to our state.”

A World Resources Institute report released in May said supportive policies enabling Michigan to increase its market share of EV assembly and battery production, along with increasing EV adoption could lead to tens of thousands of additional jobs, including 56,000 additional jobs in auto manufacturing in 2030.

More at https://michauto.org/, https://mieibc.org/, https://cleanfuelsmichigan.org/, and https://housedems.com/sharon-macdonell/.

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