Greater Lansing to get 50 new EV chargers due to Biden administration funds

Photo Illustration (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

By Kyle Kaminski

January 12, 2024

The funding will help ensure more drivers can ‘conveniently, affordably, and reliably’ charge up their electric vehicles. 

LANSING—Driving an electric vehicle—and keeping it charged—will soon be much more convenient in Mid-Michigan thanks to millions of dollars in federal funding awarded this week.

The Federal Highway Administration on Friday announced $8 million in grant funding to install more electric vehicle chargers across Greater Lansing. Officials are calling it the Michigan Capital Area Regional Charging Gateway, and it’s all part of the effort from President Joe Biden’s administration to build a nationwide charging network and smooth the transition to EVs.

Federal officials said the grant funding will cover the installation of up to 50 new EV chargers across the Greater Lansing region over the next five years—namely within the cities of both Lansing and East Lansing, and across neighboring Meridian and Williamstown Townships.

The stated goal: Ensure more drivers, particularly those passing through mid-Michigan, can “conveniently, affordably, and reliably” charge up their EVs “where they live, work, and shop,” state officials said in a press release that announced the grant funding in Lansing this week. 

“When you think about Michigan, you think about the auto industry,” Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt told The ‘Gander. “In the 21st century, the auto industry is all about EVs. It will continue to be a growing part of it. So, we want to make sure the charging infrastructure is available—so as more EVs get out there, people have a place to charge them.”

All told, Biden’s administration announced $623 million in Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Discretionary grants this week—part of a competitive grant program funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to fund the construction of about 7,500 EV charging stations across the US. 

Lansing Mayor Andy Schor said the funds awarded in Michigan will allow Lansing to serve as a convenient hub for Michiganders to charge their EVs as they pass through Mid-Michigan. He also said the network will be “hugely important” for the growth of the state’s automotive industry.

“This is going to be our future. Here in Lansing, we’re building the batteries for the cars, as well as the cars. We need to have the infrastructure,” Schor told The ‘Gander on Friday. “We won this $8 million grant because this is an important area of the country. This is where people are coming. We’re the Capital City—and we need to have the infrastructure ready and available.”

The funding awarded in Lansing is also designed to increase charging options for commercial and public fleet vehicles, and encourage more companies to ditch gasoline for alternative fuels. 

It also aligns with Biden’s Justice40 initiative, which set a goal that 40% of the benefits of federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment.

“Today’s announcement shows once again how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is paying dividends for Michigan,” said US Rep. Elissa Slotkin. “We’re building the next generation of cars in Michigan, and this new investment will help make sure Michiganders can drive those cars.”

According to figures provided by the Michigan Infrastructure Office, the state of Michigan has secured more than $150 million in federal funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to build out its EV charging network, which now includes more than 2,600 chargers statewide. 

Beyond Michigan, the federal grants announced this week are also set to build out EV charging networks in 21 other states and Puerto Rico. By 2026, Biden’s administration hopes to have at least 500,000 publicly available chargers nationwide. And with about 170,000 chargers already in operation across the country this year, Bhatt said he’s confident the goal will be achieved.

“America led the arrival of the automotive era, and now we have a chance to lead the world in the EV revolution—securing jobs, savings, and benefits for Americans in the process,” US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement announcing the grant funding.

READ MORE: Michigan amps up efforts to build out electric vehicle charging network

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Author

  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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