by Bruce Walker
Six private companies will share $577,400 of Michigan funding to expand electric vehicle infrastructure, promote EV adoption, and enhance electric bicycle sharing and charging.
Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II announced Thursday a round of funding that will launch additional EV charging stations, increase access to EVs and expand adoption of EVs with Michigan drivers. More than $577,400 will be appropriated to six mobility projects from the Michigan Mobility Funding Platform, which was created through a partnership between the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Michigan Department of Transportation, and the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification.
Grant money will be steered to six companies in the following six Michigan areas, including:
- Chargeway: $150,000 for improving customer understanding of EVs at dealerships in Lansing and Traverse City.
- eCAMION: $86,690 for installation of the Battery Energy Storage System’s DC Fast Chargers in Port Austin.
- ElectricFish: $72,000 for a DC Fast Charging system “at a public site where DC Fast Charging would otherwise be challenging due to grid constraints.”
- Fleet Lab: $90,000 for recruitment, background checks and training of drivers of specially equipped, electric passenger vans in the Burt Township School District, Allegan Area Integrated School District, St. Mary Catholic Central High School, and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.
- MoGo: $80,000 for a 15-dock electric charging bike share station with a solar panel roof in a lower income neighborhood in Detroit.
- Volta: $98,750 for a partnership with DTE to build EV infrastructure and educate potential EV consumers in low-income neighborhoods.
The more than half-a-million dollars in grants pushes to $1.7 million the total amount awarded by the Michigan Mobility Funding Platform.
In her 2022 State of the State address, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a new Michigan program to provide $2,500 rebates for the purchase of EVs and charging equipment. In addition to a $7,500 federal credit, EV buyers could save up to $10,000 on the purchase of a new car.
Consumers Reports notes that EVs cost 10% to 40% more than gasoline and diesel counterparts. EVs, however, are less expensive to operate than cars with internal combustion engines. Consumers Reports projects EVs as costing on average $800 to $1,000 less per year to operate than ICE vehicles.
In addition, EVs take a considerable amount of time to charge, which is usually between 15 minutes and 30 minutes, but can take even longer with some batteries.
Although the sales pace for EVs has picked up, Pew Research data released in June 2021 reports only 1.8 million EVs were driven in the United States. That’s more than three times the number of EVs driven in 2016. However, EVs still represent only about 2% of cars purchased in the United States. In Michigan, only 13,545 EVs are registered with the Secretary of State.
As reported previously by The Center Square, EV batteries rely on rare earth minerals, which sometimes use child and slave labor to acquire, as well as ecologically threatening strip mining. The carbon footprint of EVs is also difficult to calculate, depending how far the minerals required for batteries need to be mined, processed, and shipped. Additionally, the electricity required to recharge EV batteries more often than not derives from fossil fuels.
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Bruce Walker is a regional editor at The Center Square. He previously worked as editor at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s MichiganScience magazine and The Heartland Institute’s InfoTech & Telecom News.
Photo “Garlin Gilchrist II” by Michigan.gov. Background Photo “Electric Vehicles” by Plug’n Drive. CC BY-SA 2.0.