FLINT– We are seeing more and more electric vehicles on roads and highways now. Several automakers– GM, Ford, Tesla, and Nissan among them– have several models available that run on electricity instead of gasoline, and there are more models coming soon. So where will all of these vehicles charge up?
President Joe Biden’s proposed infrastructure bill includes money to build out a nationwide charging network. Flint is already offering what could be considered a prototype setup. Electric vehicle (EV) charging stations are beginning to pop-up downtown, on and near the Flat Lot.
“Being at the forefront of the installation of that infrastructure puts us right back at the beginning of the auto industry which was born right here in Flint, Michigan,” said Khalfani Stephens, director of the Flint Downtown Development Authority. The DDA oversees parking in downtown Flint and the agency is installing EV chargers adjacent to an area that celebrates the history he referenced.
There are four units, total– two standard capacity chargers along Saginaw Street and two high-capacity fast-chargers on the Flat Lot, in spaces specifically designated for electric vehicles.
Stephens says the entire project represents a nearly $160 thousand investment, covered mostly by a grant from Consumers Energy.
“They will work, essentially, just like parking at a meter,” Stephens said of the chargers. “You’ll determine how much you want to pay for, you’ll pay for it… charge up and you’ll take off,” he added.
The DDA is currently working with Consumers Energy on rates and also getting the charger and parking meter apps to work in concert so that customers can pay for parking and charging their vehicle in a single transaction.
There is a huge push to move away from internal combustion engines and electrification is the buzz word, now.
President Biden, on May 18th, visited the Ford Truck Plant in Dearborn where the nation’s number two automaker will build the newly introduced all-electric F-150 Lightning pickup. General Motors is ready to bring the all-electric Cadillac crossover, LYRIQ, to market along with two GMC HUMMER EV models, all joining Chevrolet’s currently available Bolt EV and upcoming Bolt EUV models. Also, there are any number of electric models– either currently available, or in the pipeline for production– from other carmakers.
Downtown Flint is ready for the electric vehicle revolution and excitement is building.
“Some of our board members have been very excited about it because they have been receiving those calls and questions of ‘when can I charge?!?” exclaimed Stephens.
That time is almost here. The chargers are not operation yet, but Stephens says they should go online in the coming weeks offering EV drivers the option to park and power-up simultaneously.