Just yesterday, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, stood side-by-side with Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Witmer and representatives from Canada to announce “The first-ever U.S. & Canada EV corridor will enable drivers to charge their vehicles all the way from Kalamazoo [Michigan] to Quebec City [in the Canadian Provence of Quebec]. Making, installing, and maintaining those chargers and vehicles will create a lot of good, union jobs. President Biden promised this and now we’re delivering.”
Green Interstate has long advocated for a Level 2 charging system along an additional green interstate through Michigan route South of the Detroit to Kalamazoo Level 3 DC fast charging route announced by the Secretary on I-94. Don’t get us wrong, we love the new Level 3 route. But we’re advocates so we say yes, and… You will find our videos exploring the U.S. 12 route, a Michigan state historical route in the Green Interstate Explores section of this site.
Have a look at the source of the information that was used to create the map above, by typing the web address seen in the image below into your browser address field.
If you dream up a plan to create the ideal local segment of the green interstate for your community, and get initial interest from local governing bodies, you ought to prevail upon your congressperson to help guide you to funds for installation of green interstate components. Fear you not to dream up sustainable plans for greener interstates, fear not dreaming them up at all.
The debate over infrastructure legislation in Congress includes discussion of funding of electric vehicle charging in rural and low income communities. A report this week noted that Arizona’s Democratic Senator, Kyrsten Sinema, in quest of a lower price tag for the legislation, is aiming to have that funding removed. Wait, what? No! And, in fact, Sinema’s office has denied that the senator, a former Green Party member, is pushing such funding aside.
We optimistically take the senator’s statement (in the same report cited here) through her spokesperson, John LaBombard, as the truth, that, “Neither Senator Sinema nor our office have requested or demanded such cuts, nor have we even heard of any such demands.”
We eagerly await the big reveal of how much funding of electric vehicle charging in rural and low income communities has been made available by Congress for those who travel, for example, along Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia’s first potential green interstate, U.S. Route 50, or on Senator Krysten Sinema of Arizona’s potential green interstates, U.S. Route 66, and a combo of U.S. Route 60, 89, and 89a connecting gorgeous AZ vistas and towns like Prescott, Jerome, Sedona, and Flagstaff, via green highways between Interstate 10 in the south and Interstate 40, at the north end.
The first thing you ought to know about electric vehicle charging is that it has three flavors, three levels of charging. The main difference between the three flavors is how fast each charges an EV.
At Level 1 an EV’s battery is charged by plugging into any home or business outlet as any appliance does. Plugging into a regular plug can give you a full charge overnight. It is actually just fine for charging an EV at home at the end of a day’s running about, as the EV’s battery will be full by morning. It can take eight to ten hours to fully charge an EV’s battery at Level 1.
At Level 2, an EV’s battery is charged by plugging into a charger that uses the level of electricity that a clothes washer and dryer uses, twice as much as a normal home or business outlet. These chargers are the choice of many EV charging lots, such as workplaces, as they can charge up EVs in a few hours at Level 2.
At Level 3, an EV’s battery is charged by plugging into a specially equipped fast charger, often called a DC (direct current) fast charger. These chargers throw AC and DC electrons into an EV’s battery at max power, often resulting in full charges in under half an hour at Level 3. Thus, is Level 3 the best choice? Not necessarily. What to select is situational, depending on the local circumstances.
Why not let folks linger for awhile when they pull into your town in electric vehicles needing to recharge their batteries?
If you install some Level 2 chargers, the kind that take two to four hours to fill an electric vehicle’s batteries, the EV drivers will come, and they will tend to spend more time enjoying a stroll through town, perhaps taking a walk from one end of town to the other, then back, experiencing breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, or sundae, and some shopping in the local stores.
Why in the world would you want to spend more on the costlier to buy, install, and operate Level 3 chargers that can fully recharge an EV in around 30 minutes? Well, you know, there will always be some who want to eat and run. You have a choice to make. Does your community want to accommodate this “fast charging” for travelers, as well as for those among you, or does it most suit you best to offer Level 2 charging that tops-off EV driver’s batteries in a couple hours?
We urge you to give careful consideration to your decision about the local level(s) of EV charging your community offers to yourselves and to travelers. It is critical that you make the initial judgement about this matter and also about where to place your EV parking infrastructure, as soon as possible, then set out to seek funding for it, mindful that data from an EV charging infrastructure software can inform your community about the cost/benefit of future expansion.
Thanks, in part, to VW cheating on their diesel tests, getting caught, and paying up for their error bigtime, our nation’s interstate system is getting hundreds of fast EV chargers installed at varied stopping islands. These Level 3 DC fast chargers can get EV drivers back on the road after buying a quick snack or meal at the island’s chain convenience store.
But what of our byways?
They, which have been the concern of greeninterstate.com for a dozen years, can now easily become green highways, linking up to become a new green interstate system created from the bottom up, by small town civic organizations installing EV charging lots in their downtowns, in parking lots adjacent to Main Streets.
The chargers towns along historic roadways install do not need to be the most costly fast chargers that can get an EV topped off in under half an hour. In fact, that would be counter to your town’s best interests. A step down from fast charging, Level 2 chargers are abundant, and thus less expensive to buy. They are more readily installed. And software is available to operate charging EV charging sites most efficiently and cost-effectively.
Soon after greeninterstate.com went online, we got email from Kim Gallagher, a project manager for the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, who was working to improve understanding about, and interest in, the historic U.S. 12 Heritage Trail in Michigan, a former Saux Indian trail that became a rutted wagon and stagecoach route between Detroit and Chicago, then evolved into the “Chicago Road” for vehicles with internal combustion engines to travel between the two cities. Then U.S. 12 was bypassed in 1956 by the interstate system. Like on so many other formerly critical routes, the towns along Michigan 12 were often forgotten.
Kim Gallagher thought that the historic U.S. 12 Heritage Trail in Michigan was a perfect fit for the green interstate. It was decided to call a meeting at a location along 12.
Representatives from towns along M12 got together for the day-long meeting in a barn on the Rentschler Farm, in Saline, Michigan, a beautiful town near Ann Arbor that features, among other attractions, the lovely classic home pictured at left.
During the meeting in the Saline barn, M12 town representatives discussed transforming their historic route into a statewide green interstate segment, known as a green highway. Alongside the folks from towns along the historic route were representatives from Michigan’s Department of Transportation (MDOT), including the agency’s head of rural planning, who is a supporter of green highways.
And in that barn near Saline that day people started thinking about how being part of a green highway that was part of an overall green interstate network (GIN) would be great for their downtown business districts. (See the Rentschler Farm in Saline, Michigan at 9:50 into the video below.)
“We’ve got to run with this,” said one participant.
Perhaps another person at the meeting described it best. “It’s like a linear incubator.”
Soon after the meeting in the barn another development took place, Time.com published an article exploring the green highways concept. The Time author included the positive reaction by the folks at the National Route 66 Federation to the green highway/green interstate concept.
Route 66 runs along a diagonal southwest from Chicago to Los Angeles. It ends where the green interstate concept first came to me, in Santa Monica, California, but that’s the story for another post. Read the Time.com article via a right mouse click on the image.