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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and partners launch a lakeshore electric vehicle charging network in Holland. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and partners launch a lakeshore electric vehicle charging network in Holland. COURTESY PHOTO

State, partners launch lakeshore electric vehicle charging network in Holland

BY Thursday, May 26, 2022 06:31pm

HOLLAND — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appeared in Holland today to launch a partnership with an electric vehicle manufacturer, a nonprofit and energy companies to build out an electric vehicle charging network in state parks along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

The state’s partnership with Rivian Automotive Inc. and nonprofit Adopt a Charger began at Holland State Park and will add charging stations at 15 sites in the Lower and Upper peninsulas.

“This partnership to install charging stations in our state parks speaks to the collaborative approach we are taking to grow our economy and address climate change head-on through clean, reliable energy,” Whitmer said in a statement. “These charging stations along the Lake Michigan EV Circuit build on our rich Pure Michigan tradition of exploration and bringing together communities and businesses to ensure that we honor our past as the place that put the world on wheels and continue to invest in our workforce as we lead the transition to electric vehicles.”

The first phase of installations started today builds off of a September 2021 announcement for a “Lake Michigan EV Circuit” that will be built out over the next few years. Rivian is providing its own branded Level 2 Waypoint chargers at no cost.

Adopt a Charger, which has helped deploy charging stations along the California coast, will provide technical and marketing support under an operating agreement with Rivian and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Electric transmission company ITC will provide funding for the electricity use for two years while Consumers Energy will use its ratepayer-funded Power MI Drive electric vehicle pilot program to upgrade electric infrastructure at state parks where needed.

Charging stations will be installed along the Lake Michigan coast and will match any type of electric vehicle. Charging locations include Warren Dunes State Park in Berrien County, P.J. Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon County, Charles Mears State Park in Oceana County and Ludington State Park in Mason County. Charging stations in the U.P. are expected to be deployed in the second phase next year.

“Our state parks charging program is how we come together with our partners to offer a solution to EV-charging gaps,” Rivian Senior Director of Public Policy Chris Nevers said in a statement. “We’re making this investment because we believe that exploring the natural world should be possible without contributing to local air pollution, climate change, or damaging the environment.”

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has corrected to say there there will be 15 charging sites as part of the project.

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