Michigan Gov. Whitmer announces EV charging circuit for Lake Michigan

·2 min read

Two days after taking the mic at Motor Bella to announce her state would be the first to lay a network of roads that can wirelessly charge electric vehicles, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used the Mackinac Policy Conference to introduce two more electric initiatives. The first is the Lake Michigan EV Circuit, a web of DC fast chargers and Level 2 chargers placed "along Lake Michigan and key tourism clusters" so that anyone wanting to do an EV road trip can be confident of topping up any time of year. With tourism said to contribute more then $26 billion to the state economy, and EVs necessarily becoming a larger part of the market, Whitmer doesn't want to leave any road-trippers out.

According to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the state has 1,058 miles of shoreline on Lake Michigan, so the plan will be to put enough battery fill-up stations in the coastal and rural communities, state and national parks, and tourism sites where gawkers might wish to stop. Importantly, this includes tourists in winter who won't get the same battery performance during sub-zero jaunts around the peninsula.

First will come a feasibility study to determine cost. Then the Michigan Department of the Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy will disburse an initial $1.25 million in funds for installation through its Charge Up program. That's all going to happen quickly, apparently, because the state's chief mobility officer said he wants to see the EV Circuit making a difference for tourists "in a real way" by next year.

The second initiative Whitmer announced seeks to create pathways that fill the need for properly trained employees in the new transportation economy, called the Michigan Revolution for the Electrification of Vehicles Academy/Academies (MiREV). For this, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) will work with employers to figure out what kinds of workers and skillsets they need, how many workers they'll need, and work on ways to retrain current workers to gain the new knowledge necessary. The LEO this week put out a request for proposals to find an organization to lead the effort. Whitmer stated a goal of having 60% of the working-age population trained up to postsecondary education or the appropriate skills by 2030.

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