First of its kind study identifies ideal locations for fast-charging electric vehicle chargers in Michigan

Results will be used to make investments into charger network

Optimal locations for fast-charging electric vehicle chargers in Michigan

The ideal locations and number of fast-charging electric vehicle chargers along well-traveled Michigan highways were announced today in the first phase of a study funded by the Michigan Energy Office. The study focuses on minimizing investment costs and user delay, while ensuring the feasibility of statewide EV travel.

The Electric Vehicle Charger Placement Optimization in Michigan study recommends the results of its mixed technology scenario be used — 150 kilowatt chargers with 70 kilowatt-hour batteries.

COMING SOON: This DC fast-charging electric vehicle charger will be part of the Electrify America charging station at the Walmart just west of Lansing.

“This first-of-its-kind study will prove invaluable to Michigan regulators, policy makers, utilities, EV charging companies, municipalities and others as the network of fast-charging stations is developed along Michigan highways,” said Robert Jackson, director of the energy office.

Conducted by researchers at Michigan State University, the optimization study is the first initiated by any state government to inform placement of EV charging infrastructure with stakeholder input.

The study looks at the ideal charger locations based on future projected EV demand, using low, mixed, and high-technology scenarios. The number of charging stations varies from 15 to 43, and the required charging outlets vary from 32 to 600, depending on the scenario. To make sure the system is reliable and allows for redundancy, each scenario includes an additional 10 percent of chargers.

Included in the study (pages 37 and 38) is the suggested number of chargers by ZIP code.

Major findings of the study include:

  • Based on the optimization results, the study suggests that Michigan build out the mixed technology DC fast-charging scenario (150 kW chargers with 70 kWh batteries) to meet targeted demand in 2030. This scenario places 35 charging stations and 196 charging outlets. Because this scenario includes lower-range vehicles, it ensures trip feasibility for more EVs on Michigan roadways. The study suggests that all station locations have at least two charging outlets at first.
  • The network of 150 kW charging outlets is the cheaper system to build because it allows for faster charging and higher throughput. Because fewer charging outlets are required to serve demand, it reduces the total system cost.
  • Though a network of 150 kW chargers supports the shortest time for charging, smaller range EVs need to be considered when building the statewide charging system.
  • The cost of building a basic optimized charging system that supports EV travel continuity in Michigan is likely within means, if multiple entities share the cost of implementation. Total estimated investment costs vary from $7.1 million to $28 million, depending on the scenario.
  • Charging station placement in Michigan should be based on winter demand and battery performance. This supports feasible EV travel year-round.

The on-going study is based on input from stakeholders, including EV owners, utilities, auto companies, charging station operators, non-profits, the Michigan Public Service Commission, the Michigan Departments of Transportation, Environmental Quality, and Natural Resources, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

The next phase of the study will focus on urban areas of select Michigan communities.

The MEO will use the results of the study as it makes available $9.9 million over the next three years to place chargers across the state as part of the public network. The money comes from the 2016 Volkswagen diesel settlement. Additional resources for a public EV charger network are expected to be available from other stakeholders, including utilities and private entities.

The MEO is a federally-designated state energy office that offers financial programs promoting adaptable, affordable, reliable, and environmentally protective energy options, including energy waste reduction and renewable energy. It is part of the Michigan Agency for Energy.