Electric vehicles are there. Will the power to move them follow?

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – So you’re considering swapping that gas burner sitting in the garage for an electric vehicle. While you might be okay with the so-called electric revolution, the question is whether the country’s infrastructure is ready.

“I don’t know about you, but I see more and more EVs on the road every day,” said Lauren Youngdahl Snyder, vice president of customer experience for Jackson-based Consumers Energy.

With automakers producing or planning to put some 240 models of electric vehicles on the road in the next few years, you will see more of them in the near future. Currently, approximately 30,000 electric vehicles are registered in Michigan. Consumers predict the need to power 1 million by 2030.

“You look at the advancements in battery technology and you look at what’s going on at the federal and state level, it really tells us it’s not a matter of whether electric vehicles are coming, it’s a matter of when. they’re coming, ”Youngdahl Snyder said.

Two questions arise in the switch: will there be enough places to recharge and will the network support this additional load?

On charging stations and range anxiety, Youngdahl Snyder said Consumers has been working with Michigan State and Michigan State University for the past three years to place more charging stations at strategic points.

“Today you can drive from Bronson, Michigan… (in the) downstate to Mackinaw using the chargers we put there. And it’s the same from west to east, ”said Youngdahl Snyder.

As for the grid, Youngdahl Snyder says most EV owners charge at home at night when power consumption is at its lowest. Consumers are offering homeowners significant discounts for nighttime charging.

The public service works on the future needs of the demand.

“We have appropriately paced what we are seeing in terms of future load growth on the system. It will not happen overnight. So we are making the right investments, ”said Youngdahl Snyder.

Part of the investment will be provided by taxpayers. The Biden administration’s Build Back Better spending plan includes up to $ 12,000 in tax relief for the purchase of electric vehicles. The package is still stuck in Congress as lawmakers battle over exactly what it should include and how much money should be spent, but its EV dollars aren’t the only ones in the federal pipeline. Youngdahl Synder predicts that a portion of these dollars will be used to develop an electric vehicle infrastructure for underserved and rural communities and groups with a large carbon footprint.

“I am thinking of school buses… They are big emitters of carbon. So how do we make this transition to electric, ”she said.

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