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DTE, Consumers join major utilities in electric vehicle charging pledge COURTESY PHOTO

DTE, Consumers join major utilities in electric vehicle charging pledge

BY Tuesday, September 22, 2020 11:44am

Michigan’s two major investor-owned utilities are joining other large Midwest power companies in pledging to build out an interstate charging network to support more widespread electric vehicle adoption.

Detroit-based DTE Energy and Jackson-based Consumers Energy announced the “memorandum of cooperation” today along with Ameren Missouri, Ameren Illinois, Oklahoma Gas and Energy and Kansas City-based Evergy. 

The agreement signals a commitment to building out an interstate network of fast-charging stations from Michigan to Kansas by 2022, but doesn’t provide specifics about where or how many charging stations would be constructed. The utilities said such details would be subject to regulatory approval in each state.

A connected charging network is meant to help alleviate “range anxiety” among EV drivers and ensure they can travel greater distances.

“Consumers Energy is committed to building the backbone of the charging network for electric vehicles across Michigan,” Brian Rich, Consumers’ senior vice president for customer experience, said in a statement. “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.”

While the interstate network hasn’t yet been detailed, state officials in recent years have developed an optimal in-state fast-charging network that’s meant to guide charging site locations for EV rebate programs at DTE and Consumers. Under the programs, residential and commercial utility customers can receive rebates for installing EV chargers.

Eight fast-charging stations are operational in Southeast Michigan under DTE’s program, while 40 more are under development. Five fast-charging stations are operational across Consumers’ service territory, with 30 more scheduled to launch next year.

The shift to greater electric vehicle adoption could spell greater power sales for utilities while providing environmental benefits as power supplies come from an increasing share of clean energy sources.

Other Midwest states also are pursuing fast-charging EV station networks, including most recently in Minnesota, where the state’s Pollution Control Agency will fund 38 fast-charging stations to extend an “EV highway corridor.”

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