Electric vehicles can offer a lot of pluses, from a peppy launch to zero tailpipe emissions.
Driving from Detroit to Traverse City on a single charge, however, is out of the question for all but a handful of EVs, such as the long-range Tesla Model 3.
Now, a group of Michigan legislators is proposing an option that could make drives such as a 265-mile vacation trip Up North less of a worry for those concerned that an EV would leave them stranded before they can get to their destination.
A package of bipartisan bills introduced in the state House and Senate on Wednesday, June 26 would, among other things, allow the state to open up state parks and park-and-ride lots to install or lease space for charging stations.
That wouldn't fix the range limitations during longer trips for some EVs, but it could dramatically expand the EV charging infrastructure in Michigan, meaning drivers could feel confident they would have more charging options as they travel. EVs are more than adequate for typical daily driving needs, with numerous EVs getting in excess of 200 miles on a charge.
Lawmakers also say the bills, if approved, could go a long way toward keeping the Mitten State at the forefront of a key automotive technology.
Sen. Mallory McMorrow, D-Royal Oak, one of the legislators who introduced the bills, touted the changing nature of today's auto industry and Michigan's role in its development. She also warned that "this is our industry to lose."
"So we know that we can solve any design problem as we look at the next generation of electric vehicles and where this industry is going, we in Michigan have the unique capability to imagine it, to design it, to engineer it, to build it, and to ship it all over the world for people to enjoy and to be able to get where they want to go," McMorrow said. "But we’re at a point right now where if you drive an electric vehicle you may not make it to where you want to go, and particularly in Michigan as we look to what's next, we have to plan for the future."