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Too few charging stations hamper electric car growth in Michigan

An electric car at a charging station
Wikimedia Commons

A lack of public charging stations is hurting the growth of electric cars in Michigan, according to some clean energy advocates.

Consumers Energy recently pulled the plug on a plan to set up hundreds of charging stations around Michigan. This was in response to pushback from competitors and consumers who don't want to pay for the system.

Brian Wheeler is a spokesperson for Consumers Energy. He says the company is looking forward to working with the Michigan Public Service Commission to revamp the plan.

"We expect that there will be more people who are driving electric vehicles in the near future, but for that to happen you're going to need infrastructure," Wheeler said. 

Right now there are 330 public charging stations in Michigan for an estimated 9,500 plug-in vehicles. That's a fraction of the more than 7 million cars in the state. 

Electric experts say consumers have "range anxiety," the fear that an electric car will run out of battery on the road. This is preventing some people from switching to plug-in vehicles. 

Wheeler says Consumers Energy is not done looking at ways to work with electric vehicles.

"This issue is not going to go away, we think there's going to be more interest in electric vehicles over time so it's good that we're having the conversation now and we'll look forward to seeing what comes of it," Wheeler said.

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