Detroit’s Belle Isle Park now has fast charging stations for EVs
- Two electric vehicle charging stations are now operating at Belle Isle
- Electric vehicle owners pay a $2.50 flat rate fee to use the charging station in addition to 48 cents per kilowatt
- State officials say they are moving to install EV charging stations at other state parks as well
Two fast charging stations for electric vehicles are now available on the northeast part of Belle Isle, the island park in the Detroit River, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced in a press release on Monday.
The charging stations, which the department said are the first fast charging stations in a Michigan state park, are in the Belle Isle Nature Center parking lot.
“Auto suppliers and auto companies are converting a lot of their resources into electric vehicles so I think we’re going to be seeing more of those electric vehicles on the road,” Tom Bissett, urban district supervisor for the Michigan DNR, told Bridge Michigan.
“Back in the day you would see an electric vehicle and say, ‘Wow, look at that, it’s an electric vehicle.’ Now on the regular, you drive through the city and you see Teslas.”
The fast chargers, also called DC fast chargers, use technology that speeds up the charging process by converting AC power to DC power directly to the battery, according to the press release.
“It’s not meant for you to sit there and have to wait three, four hours for your vehicle to charge,” Bissett said. It provides people with the option to park their car and go for a nice hike for example or take their kids to the park.
Electric vehicle users can use the self-pay charging stations for a $2.50 service fee through the EV Connect app and 48 cents per kilowatt. A recreation passport is required to enter Belle Isle and all other state parks.
Diatomic Energy, a Detroit-based EV charging service provider, operates the self-pay chargers on the island. But most of the funding for the stations were provided through DTE's Charging Forward program and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy's (EGLE) Charge Up Michigan program, which aims to expand access to EV charging stations in Michigan.
The three-year project comes after DTE finished updating the power grid at Belle Isle in 2021. Though DTE has faced criticism in recent months for the frequent and long power outages, Bissett said the electric charging stations won’t be hugely impacted by tree and wind damage because the power grid at Belle Isle is underground.
“With DTE coming on the island to upgrade the power service in the park, it kind of fits perfectly because we have all new electrical infrastructure now,” he said.
DNR also is partnering with Adopt a Charger and Rivian, a California-based electric vehicle automaker, to install several slower, level 2 charging stations at other state parks by the end of the year, Chuck Allen, analyst for the Parks and Recreation Division department at DNR, told Bridge. Bay City State Park and Holland State Park already have level 2 stations.
Level 2 charging stations are free of charge but can take several hours to charge a vehicle.
“There still may be a time where we have level 2 charging stations on Belle Isle that are free of charge,” Allen said. “It’s definitely going to happen but it’s just not part of phase one.
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