After Consumers Energy withdrawal of their $15M plan to build a statewide EV charging network, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) has ordered a technical conference focusing on how to best facilitate an EV charging network throughout the state.
Consumers’ proposed plan would have installed a combination of fast-charging stations on major highway corridors and standard EV charging stations in major metro areas in the Lower Peninsula that would be paid for by Consumers ratepayers. As reported in MiBiz, however, the Consumer's plan encountered a number of policy disagreements from private charging station manufacturers, environmental groups, and MPSC staff. Some of the biggest concerns included whether the proposal would stifle competition from 3rd party suppliers, and whether ratepayer funded utility investments in EV charging infrastructure would provide sufficient benefit to all ratepayers.
Given the differences in positions presented in the case, the MPSC decided to order an Electric Vehicle Technical Conference to gather input from a variety of stakeholders, to include “utilities, auto manufacturers, third-party suppliers of charging equipment, transportation planners and other interested groups” from across the state. The hope is that bringing these groups together will help to forge the right path for utility investments in electric vehicle charging infrastructure going forward.
Strategic EV charging opportunities along highway corridors, at multi-unit dwellings and workplaces, and other public locations could also go a long way toward facilitating EV adoption and use in Michigan.