Great news! The governors of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin have announced a plan to build a network of public charging stations along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Local media reminded us of the scenic and touristic attractions of the region, and rightly pointed out how nice it will be to make these wonders more accessible to EV drivers.
But what does the plan for the Lake Michigan Circuit (also dubbed an “electric Route 66″) actually include? So far, it seems to consist of some press conferences and the establishment of a “working group.”
The plan was announced by the office of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (whose administration has funded some promising infrastructure projects), and the details, such as they are, can be found in a Memorandum of Understanding, which says that the participating states “will coordinate on regional EV infrastructure siting optimization and deployment strategies with an initial focus on a targeted route of commercial tourism significance around Lake Michigan.” The states will also “share best practices to inform the design and marketing of the EV infrastructure” and work with utilities to address electricity demand needs.
The Governor’s office says that chargers “will be installed in key coastal communities at lighthouses, state parks, breweries, vineyards, restaurants and other small businesses. They will also be meshed into existing charging infrastructure networks at large entertainment attractions in cities along the route including Chicago, Milwaukee and Green Bay.”
The MOU includes no information about funding, and it specifies that it is not legally binding. “Any Participating State may withdraw at any time.” How many chargers, and what kind, will be installed? Do any of the four states have plans to provide any funding? When will RFPs be issued? No information is on offer at the moment.
Far be it from us to poo-poo any public charging initiative. We’re all for the Lake Michigan Circuit, and will be happy to report on it further, as soon as some plans for actual charger installations are announced.