State grant-funded fast-charging EV stations available downtown Houghton

This is a recording of the TV6 Early News.
Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 8:13 PM EST
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HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) - Two ChargePoint EV fast-charging stations are now up and running for local and visiting EV users alike in Houghton.

They are set up on the upper parking deck on the corner of Isle Royale Street and Shelden Avenue.

A state grant of $110,000 from The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) paid for the stations.

While installed in August 2022, they were not available for use until January 2023 because of technical difficulties.

“Power had to be run from the U.P engineers building under the road to a new transformer, then hooked into some circuit breakers,” said City of Houghton Community & Business Development Director Amy Zawada. “Between supply chain issues and other things with the electricals, we had to wait until now to power them up.”

According to Zawada, the stations charge a car’s EV battery in about 20 minutes.

This is significantly faster than the trickle charge station on the downtown parking deck above Lakeshore Drive, which takes around five hours. It is free to use, and the city says it’s been in demand, as there are frequent questions about other charger locations.

“If a car was parked there and you needed to be charging, you would have to wait until that person was done,” continued Zawada. “It wasn’t very effective, so these fast chargers are the way to go.”

The new Houghton stations charge 28 cents per kilowatt, with a $1 fee for maintenance from the city.

Zawada also noted this was done in response to requests for faster chargers from residents and tourists over several years.

According to Visit Keweenaw’s Brad Barnett, charger stations like this are likely to appear more frequently going forward.

“We would expect this to continue to grow. I mean, this is quite frankly where the transportation industry is going,” said Barnett. “We as a community, whether it’s for travelers or visitors, even loved ones and family members or even local community members. These types of resources are going to continue to grow as a priority. We would only expect to see more installed in the future.”

This follows two other charging stations being installed in August, one in Calumet and the other at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge.