Get a charge out of parking in Michigan state park

Charging stations are becoming a standard feature of parking lots all around the state, but a lot of EV drivers might not have expected to see one in a state park. Which is why we were charged up to see the news last month about the new charging station installed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in the Bay City State Recreation Area.

It’s the first in a Michigan state park, but not the last, according to the story:  state officials say there are plans to install similar charging units at parks up and down I-75.

One wrinkle is that the state hasn’t budgeted any money to pay for the charger installations, so it’s up to each park to find local partners to pick up the bill.

In Bay City, Bay City Electric Light and Power paid $5,000 for the station and its summer installation using funding from electricity payments, and Graff Chevrolet has agreed to pay the station's first three years of electric bills, which means visitors to the park can currently use the station for free.

George Lauinger, manager of the Bay City park, said that he hopes the charging station spurs similar local developments.

“The DNR likes to think of themselves as a member of the community, and if we're a member of the community, we want to show our neighbors, ‘Hey, if we can do it, you can do it,’” he said in a report on MLive. “Maybe we'll inspire other public entities to do the same.”

We sure hope so.