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Electric vehicles have long been celebrated as the new wave of pollution-free driving. There are now dozens of EV models available for commuters and even a few truck and SUV models in the line-up for local electric hauling.
One thing that has stopped the widespread adoption of electric engines is range anxiety. Most electric vehicles don't have a far enough reliable range for road trips and long hauling.
Right now, the longest EV range averages about 300 miles per charge, and the average is closer to 200 miles per charge. Not to mention that number goes down when you load up the car with camping gear.
This just isn't enough distance to, for example, take a road trip up the Lake Michigan coast, but soon Michigan plans to change all that.
Michigan announces the Lake Michigan EV circuit
Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan has recently announced her plan to seed the entire Lake Michigan coast with EV charging stations as part of the Lake Michigan Electric Vehicle Circuit. The Circuit is being designed to promote eco-friendly driving, alternative energy, and EV tourism - a new and budding industry that has yet to be fully discovered.
She states that the plan is to "give drivers the opportunity to visit the state's west coast in zero-emission vehicles and not worry about where they'll be able to charge the battery," according to Car and Driver.
The Lake Michigan EV Circuit promises to invest $1.25 million into a yet-unknown number of EV chargers along Lake Michigan's western coast and coastal attractions.
Positioning Michigan as an EV tourist haven
This is a genius move on Whitmer's part, as she positions her state to become, in her words, "the best new road trip for electric vehicle owners in America." By creating a tourist route of EV charging stations, she invites EV owners from anywhere within range to explore the Lake Michigan coast in a uniquely eco-friendly road trip vacation.
The eco-tourism opportunities and business for local shops and attractions can't be understated. The network will be designed to give drivers full access to local attractions, lighthouses, parks, and businesses.
Those who have been craving exactly this experience with their new electric vehicles but have been shy to challenge the range will be in heaven in a few years when the circuit is complete.
What is in store for EV driving in Michigan?
Currently, most of the EV stations in Michigan and, in fact, throughout the US are clustered around city centers. It's easy to be an EV owner in the city where charge ports are common and the network of away-from-home chargers spreads out into the suburban sprawl.
But past the city lights into rural regions, we see very few, almost none, of the chargers that would make eco-friendly driving a practical possibility. Urban and even central Michigan have a fair spread of EV chargers, for some routes.
There are currently 608 Level 2 EV chargers in Michigan, but outside the cities, many road stretches reach over 100 miles without a charger in sight.
Governor Whitmer says "The circuit is going to entice residents and travelers to explore our incredible coastal communities and amenities while using clean energy" and we agree.
If you have an electric vehicle you want to take on one of the few charge-ready road trip routes, check your car insurance with Jerry before you go. It's always better to be covered when away from home.