Grand Valley’s Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center is the site of the university’s first electric vehicle charging station. The ChargePoint charging station was installed during the last week of December as part of a regional effort led by the West Michigan Strategic Alliance and West Michigan Energy.
“The Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf make electric vehicles a reality on our streets and roads, and the development of a national network of charging stations becomes a critical priority,” said Arn Boezaart, director of MAREC. “It’s very timely for MAREC and West Michigan to be part of this new initiative that will help to bring the next generation of automotive technology to our region.”
The charging station is activated when account holders scan a card that tracks charging purchases online. The station provides charges at two different voltage levels and usually takes four to eight hours to fully charge. MAREC will offer free use of the charging station initially and will evaluate the need to charge a fee for use over time as usage and cost of the service is determined.
“Just as a network of gasoline pumping stations evolved when the Model-T was released, we’ll be seeing something very similar with a network of charging stations for electric vehicles being installed throughout the country,” said Boezaart.
Over the next nine months, a network of charging stations will be developed throughout the Kent, Muskegon and Ottawa County region.
The charging stations – the equivalent of gas stations for traditional automobiles – are being made available to nine selected regions across the United States through ChargePoint America, a public/private partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy and Coulomb Technologies, a manufacturer of charging stations, and its partners. The program provides the charging stations at no cost, with the host organization covering the costs of installation.
Last October, the West Michigan Energy coalition secured a commitment through the ChargePoint America program for up to 70 stations to be established in West Michigan.