Two of Michigan’s energy companies, Detroit’s DTE Energy and Jackson’s Consumers Energy, have joined four other energy providers in a pledge to make interstate travel easier for electric vehicle owners by 2022.
The EV network will be necessary to support the expected 130 electric vehicle model launches from automakers by the end of 2022.
From Michigan to Kansas, the six energy companies will join in facilitating the construction of charging stations that make it possible for electric vehicle owners to drive long distances without worrying about where to get their next charge.
“Consumers Energy is committed to building the backbone of the charging network for electric vehicles across Michigan,” says Brian Rich, senior vice president for customer experience at Consumers Energy. “We know we can play an important role in charging the growth of EVs in our state and region, and know that will be good for Michigan’s economy, our communities, and the environment.”
Automotive industry experts believe that the lack of convenient fast charging has been a factor holding back the purchases of electric vehicles. Given that the number of fast chargers is significantly less than the number of gas stations on highways, Consumers and DTE will help solve this challenge by enabling a charging network for many Midwest travelers.
“DTE has a significant role to play in helping make electric vehicles a viable option for many,” says Trevor Lauer, president and COO of DTE Electric. “This pledge, along with the rebates we offer for electric vehicle chargers installed at homes and businesses, shows DTE is committed to a future of more environmentally friendly transportation.”
In 2019, DTE Energy introduced its Charging Forward program that offers incentives for its business customers to install, own, and operate Direct Current Fast Chargers along major highway corridors in southeast Michigan. To date, eight fast chargers are operational in Ann Arbor, Northville, and Troy, and 40 additional fast chargers are in development across DTE’s service territories.
DTE believes the combination of initiatives such as the network, utility charger rebates, and available Volkswagen settlement funds should help create the network.
Consumers Energy’s PowerMIDrive program offers rebates to customers for electric vehicle chargers at homes, public locations, and workplaces. Today, there are fast charging locations in Big Rapids, Cadillac, Gaylord, Marshall, and Saugatuck, as well as plans for 30 more fast charging stations to be operating by next year.
Companies joining Consumers Energy and DTE Energy in building the Midwest’s charging network include Ameren Illinois, Ameren Missouri, Oklahoma Gas and Energy, and Evergy. Additional companies have expressed interest and may soon join the collaborative effort once construction of the network begins.
DTE Energy has an electric company serving 2.2 million customers in southeast Michigan and a natural gas company serving 1.3 million customers in Michigan. Consumers Energy is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy, providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million residents across the Lower Peninsula.