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Michigan’s Electrified Future: 100,000 EV Chargers by 2030

State economic development and university officials joined private-sector EV leaders in an online discussion of “The Path to True Electrification.” For Michigan, that will include a focus on infrastructure, job training and shaping public policy.

An empty parking lot with spaces for charging electric vehicles.
Michigan plans to be a key leader in the march toward electrified transportation, as officials develop thousands of charging ports to serve every mode of conveyance whether on roadways, in the air, or on water.

Infrastructure is part of their larger strategy, which includes workforce development, and forging the public policy to enable and incentivize the shift.

“For us, mobility is such a broad term. It is literally moving people, goods and information over land, water and air,” said Justine Johnson, senior vice president and chief mobility officer for the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), a public-private partnership agency. Johnson spoke about the state’s electrified transportation vision and strategy Monday, during an online panel discussion.

Michigan plans to have 100,000 public EV charging ports in operation by 2030 to serve some 2 million electric vehicles. It has been awarded $110 million from the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program, through which the federal government will invest some $7.5 billion to help lay the groundwork for a national EV charging network.

About $23 million of Michigan’s NEVI allotment has been dispersed, Johnson said.

“We know that this is important,” Johnson said on the panel, titled “The Path to True Electrification.” “We understand that this network is truly important for this adoption.”

About 1.6 million light-duty electric vehicles were sold in the United States last year, a statistic that has been trending upward as more models enter the market, interest moves from early adopters to everyday consumers and charging infrastructure comes online. The trend toward mobility electrification is real, said Johnson, backing up the state’s aim to build out charging and transition its entire fleet to zero-emission vehicles by 2040.

Michigan is the first state in the nation to have wireless EV charging available on a roadway. It is in the middle of a five-year pilot of wireless, in-road charging, and is teaming with Electreon to deploy the necessary infrastructure. The work in Michigan can “pave the way for the rest of the nation,” said Stefan Tongur, Electreon vice president of U.S. business development, during the panel.

“It all comes down to the vision,” he said of his company’s decision to work with Michigan. “The state has a great vision, that they want to lead the future of mobility.”

In a calculated effort to support EVs everywhere in the Wolverine State, Michigan is working with companies like Polaris to bring charging to remote areas like state and national parks.

“We have to be very thoughtful about making sure the charging infrastructure is very available for urban communities, all the way to rural and remote as well,” Johnson said.

Part of Michigan’s plan to transition to a future of electric mobility involves workforce development, through training and apprenticeship programs like the Michigander Scholars Program. It was developed in partnership with MEDC and universities, to drive training and job-seeking skills throughout the EV workforce.

“It’s been extremely successful. I’ve got hundreds of students here at U of M who are interested in this program, or who are participating in it,” said Greg McGuire, managing director of Mcity, a transportation research division at the University of Michigan, speaking on the panel.
Skip Descant writes about smart cities, the Internet of Things, transportation and other areas. He spent more than 12 years reporting for daily newspapers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and California. He lives in downtown Yreka, Calif.