Michigan launches pilot projects to prepare rural and low-income communities for electric vehicle revolution

Michigan announced six grant recipients for pilot projects to expand electric vehicle infrastructure, with a particular focus on low-income rural and urban areas.

A project will introduce two Level 2 chargers and two fast chargers for electric vehicles in low-income communities. Volta and DTE Energy will partner to decide which neighborhoods should receive the stations.

Trevor Pawl is Michigan’s Director of Mobility.

“To see how an electric vehicle solution can work is a big deal,” Pawl said. “Everyone needs to see this. No one can be left behind by the electric vehicle revolution.”

Another project will install a battery energy storage system in Port Austin. This could help protect the grid during periods of high demand for electric vehicle charging.

“Particularly in tourist clusters along the Great Lakes, we’re going to see surges during peak season,” Pawl said.

Other projects include:

  • Fleet Lab is working with rural school districts to deploy an electric transit system that will help address extreme driver shortages, eliminate unsafe bus stops, and reduce student commute times, which can be up to four hours per school day.
  • Chargeway will work with auto dealerships to help improve the customer experience and simplify and accelerate electric vehicle sales. The launch of a new software platform will serve as a training and sales tool for dealers and an educational tool for car buyers.
  • MoGo will build an electric bike-sharing station with a solar panel roof in a low-income Detroit neighborhood. Solar power will allow the company to significantly reduce its carbon footprint, not only for e-bike charging, but also for bike maintenance crew pick-ups and returns.
  • ElectricFish will deploy its microgrid-integrated DC fast charging system at a public site where DC fast charging would otherwise be difficult due to grid constraints. The solution will charge electric vehicles and provide backup power to a local power grid to build site resilience.

Pawl said this is just the first in a series of grants to fund creative solutions to ensure all places in Michigan are ready to go online in the future of electric vehicles.

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