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Fast electric vehicle chargers could come soon to U.P. under new state partnership

An electric vehicle charging station
J&K/scharfsinn86 - stock.adobe.com
An electric vehicle charging station

The Michigan Public Service Commission has approved the first utility-led vehicle electrification effort in the Upper Peninsula.

The approval will allow the Upper Peninsula Power Company and its customers, including municipalities, to access public funding to help defray the costs of installing electric vehicle fast chargers.

The power company, the state, and the customer will split the cost of the installation, and UPPCO could seek to recover its costs in later filings with the MPSC.

Tom Nemacheck, Executive Director of the UP Travel and Recreation Association, said the tourism industry in the U.P. needs to adapt, as more tourists become EV owners.

"We can't afford to give them a reason not to come," he said.

Nemachuck said having a network of "level 3" fast chargers would complement the ongoing installation of "level 2" chargers.

"There are hotels that are more and more putting them in," he said. "They're not the commercial ones that you might pull up to like a gas station, but people can plug them in at the hotel."

Fast chargers can partially recharge an EV battery within 10 to 20 minutes, allowing drivers to go further on trips without having to stop for long periods to recharge.

UPPCO, based in Marquette, serves about 52,000 customers in 10 counties in the central and western UP.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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