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Posted on Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 4:06 p.m.

Plugged in: Ann Arbor now ready to welcome electric vehicles with new charging stations downtown

By Ryan J. Stanton

Are you ready for an electric car? Ann Arbor officials now say they're at least ready for you to venture downtown and plug in.

With the help of the local Clean Energy Coalition, city officials are celebrating the installation of 18 electric vehicle charging stations at six parking locations downtown.

The charging stations now in place can be accessed by the public free of charge. Electric vehicle owners need only pay the usual parking fees.


The Fourth and William parking structure is among the locations where new electric vehicle charging stations have been installed in downtown Ann Arbor.

Ryan J. Stanton |

With electric vehicles becoming increasingly common, the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority was able to secure federal grant funding through the Clean Energy Coalition from the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Cities Recovery Act program.

Leaders from the city, DDA, Clean Energy Coalition and Ecology Center are planning to celebrate the new stations at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Forest Avenue parking structure.

The charging stations, manufactured by a California-based company called ClipperCreek, are located at the Forest Avenue, Maynard, Fourth and William, Ann and Ashley, and Fourth and Catherine parking facilities, as well as the new Library Lane underground parking structure that opens July 12.

Interest in electric vehicles is growing rapidly, city officials say, but one of the largest concerns is the ability to charge them.

Dave Konkle, the DDA's energy programs director, said officials looked at parking structures and surface lots all over the downtown when considering where to locate the new stations.

He said the DDA's goal was to spread them out so no matter where someone parks, there will be electric car charging spots available within a few blocks.

The DOE grant amounted to $110,000. Konkle said it helped that the Clean Energy Coalition has staff members experienced with electric car charging installation.

DDA officials hope charging-friendly parking garages will be attractive to downtown residents, commuters and out-of-town visitors, and help the city meet its emission reduction goals, moving toward a healthier and more energy-independent community.

View Electric Charging Stations in Downtown Ann Arbor in a larger map

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


Mike D.

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 12:39 p.m.

It would cost more to install payment systems at these charging stations (probably $2k+ each) than they would collect over years of use. Genocide is being committed in Syria, our legislators are trying to take away a woman's right to choose, and you're complaining about a few hundred bucks to promote green energy. I need to get out of this place.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 12:38 p.m.

Are there even 18 electric cars in Ann Arbor?

Mike D.

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 12:48 p.m.

If you count plug-in hybrids like the Volt, definitely. I also see a bunch of pure-electric Nissan Leafs, and there's at least one electric Focus running around town this week. This is about getting ahead of the chicken-and-egg game by building infrastructure so people will buy more electrics.

Jeffersonian Liberal

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 12:09 p.m.

We not only subsidize these vehicles (Japanese included) so the limousine liberals can tell their empty headed friends how they're saving the planet, but were paying to charge them. By the way, you green fools need to realize that coal powered generators are supplying the electricity so you've achieved nothing.


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 2:29 a.m.

You know, this is probably the most liberal town east of California but I have yet to see where these liberals park their limousines. Tell me, oh mighty scholar of Jefferson, how many limo parking spots there are in town?


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 10:51 p.m.

And nuclear (for the power plant, not the car) - right Mike?

Mike D.

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 12:58 p.m.

I agree with the facts in your comment, but you have to start somewhere. I assume from your comments you support massive infrastructure investments to developer better batteries, replace coal with solar and wind power, and build a power grid capable of moving power across the country.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 11:12 a.m.

Perhaps in 6 months can report on how much usage each station as received. No one is going to pay to park to get a free charge unless the car won't make it home. If they do charge, it likely will be for the short time they need to park, like 2 or 3 hours. While I agree that society needs to support this, it is also clear that electric vehicles still aren't really accepted. Wall Street Journal has natural gas article yesterday, and there is one model in the US, with low sales. We have a non-plugin hybrid. Unlikely to do more than break-even even with buying it during Cash For Clunkers and getting more for our clunker as a result, and buying with Ford's X Plan. We are at three years and I plan on doing an analysis comparing it to my prior car that got 15mpg as well as a non-hybrid model of the same car to see where we stand.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 1:16 p.m.

And the internet will never take off because it is too slow and expensive, UNTIL it wasn't.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 10:24 a.m.

Just living up to the Ann Arbor mission statement " Drain the fortunes of many for the benefit of few ".....

Linda Diane Feldt

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 3:06 a.m.

I'm not sure people are aware of how little it costs to charge an electric vehicle. Less than $1 for a full charge for most of them. I have a visiting Volt charging 2-3 times a week at the higher regular cost (and slower charge) with the 110 charger. No change in my bill at all. The EV driver pays to park. If charging is free, it will cost less than they pay. As for subsidizing the charge? Some places have a fee for the electric plug in. You can get a prepaid card, or other methods. It is still being worked out how it is done. And as someone who uses parking garages just a few times a year, I'm already subsidizing lots of people parking. I'm happy to be encouraging EVs. I'd rather not subsidize parking places at all for anyone, but realize that is a pretty selfish and short sighted viewpoint. People need to park and it makes Ann Arbor a happier place apparently. An EV is a great option, opening doors for even better ideas and innovations. I'm happy to give a small tiny nudge to encourage more of them. In the arena of all the things I pay for with taxes - this one makes me really happy. And the cost is very very small. Pretty much insignificant. The benefits? I find them to be much more significant.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 1:16 p.m.

How much do the chargers cost, including the upkeep? Perhaps not much but still there is a cost that is being passed on to taxpayers yet only used by a wealthier segment of society.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 11:53 a.m.

Regardless of how little it may cost, it is costing us, the taxpayers, as a limited section of the public receives "free" fuel for their vehicle. If this costs so very little, how about each person with an electric vehicle send that same amount to me each day. I'd be happy to receive their "free" money.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 4:59 a.m.

I'll take a diesel any day of the week....also the Volt is not an electric car. It is a plug-in hybrid vehicle.

average joe

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 1:57 a.m.

So first the taxpayers are subsidizing the cost of these cars(plus the often failed suppliers for these e-cars), and now the buyer can get free juice too? If the grant covers the installation of these charging stations, exactly who is paying for the electricity? (The city?) & if the grant covers the electric bill, then when the money from the grant is depleted, who picks up the electric tab then?

John Hritz

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 1:54 a.m.

First, it's not all that free. You have to pay to park. Second it's not a lot of money. A Volt or Leaf would use about 32-64 cents to charge from empty at 8 cents a kilowatt. At some point, these chargers can be made to bill users and ought to if people tie them up after their car is fully charged. Chargepoint and Blink! are intended as pay charger networks.

Mike D.

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 1:03 p.m.

Assuming these are 220-volt chargers, it will take 7-10 hours to charge a Leaf or a Volt. The parking revenue will more than cover the cost of electricity.

Brian Kuehn

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 12:08 a.m.

Offering free re-charging and transferring the cost to tax payers is just not right. While these costs may be absorbed by grants, the cost ultimately comes from everyone paying taxes. If someone purchases an electric car, the expectation should be that the cost to re-charge is part of the operating cost. Certainly offering re-charging stations makes sense, but not offering the service for free.

Brian Kuehn

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 8:01 p.m.

@Mike D. - I have seen credit card readers on beverage dispensers and parking meters so this uninformed writer assumes the technology available would not be too costly. Besides, the cost of installing and maintaining a payment system, along with the cost of the charging system, should be passed on to the user, not the taxpayer.

Mike D.

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 1:04 p.m.

Taxpayers would pay more to install and maintain payment systems than they would make in revenue. Lighten up. :)

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 1:22 a.m.


Dog Guy

Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 11:52 p.m.

Tom Swift shall now charge his $7,500.00-subsidy electric car while parked downtown and save money on his home DTE bill at my expense. His blatant smugness will be boundlessly insufferable.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 1:14 p.m.

So he is going to PAY to be a in parking garage rather than pay for his home DTE bill? Give me a break


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 1:52 a.m.

Never has this been more valid.


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 11:27 p.m.

"With electric vehicles becoming increasingly common...." Say what? Says who? Not the Freep or Det News: What sticks in my craw is that electric vehicles are so expensive, only the very well off can afford them and those are the folks most able to pay for their charging. Meanwhile the folks who are less well off get no govt subsidy for their transportation costs. Today I was reviewing a Motortrend article on six 40 MPG compact sedans and was glad to see them coming in from $17695 to $22,325. High MPG and affordable prices is great for people who cannot afford a $40k car. You do not make up the difference in gas savings, so what is the sense of buying an electric car? Why can't the people who really need the subsidy-instead of those who don't need it-get some funding? And the taxpayers, most of whom have to buy cheaper, are funding these payouts. Here is the Motortrend article:


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

Correct A2citizen new technology typically is expensive when introduced and as time goes by becomes less expensive. However when has this happened with automobiles? Autos are full of new technologies and I have yet to see any decline in the price of an auto and I highly doubt the price of electric cars will fall to the level of the cars noted in my posted link. Also let me point out in regard to expense that the fuel these cars run on, lithium ion, is very expensive, it is a natural resource and it is mined in other countries. Sound familiar? Is there a chance that LI exporting countries might create an organization: Organization of Lithium Ion Exporting Countries (OLIEC)? Also, LI is quite popular. Many devices are powered by it: hand held tools for shop and garden, phones, etc., etc., many of which do not run on gas. Very high demand. Thus the cost of LI might become an issue matching oil. And let's not forget that the fed is giving away $10,000 to anyone buying an electric car. So in order to spike the weak sales all of us are giving a huge gift to these purchasers while many people who simply do not make enough money to buy one get no subsidy to buy a Ford Focus or a Chevy Cruze. It looks to me that the electric car project is an abysmal failure since it needs both federal and state freebies to lure people into buying one. Why aren't people upset about these subsidies to the rich?


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 4:57 a.m.

Electric cars have been around since the 1800s. We still haven't perfected the battery and the infrastructure isn't there to charge. Electric cars need government subsidies to exist...otherwise there is no reason to buy one. Consumers think with their wallet.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 3:54 a.m.

The free juice is meant to encourage people to buy electric, though I can understand why you think they are being subsidized. The figures I have found vary but it costs anywhere from 0.48 to $1.70 to charge a Chevy Volt. It takes four hours to charge a Volt. Charging cars around the clock, with no time lag between pulling in and out would be 6 cars per 24 hours. 6 cars x .48-1.70 x 18 = roughly $69 to $183 per day, or $280-900 per week. Other examples of subsidies in our everyday lives: The U-M will receive about $750 million in federal taxpayers dollars this year for research. The newest aircraft carriers being built will cost at least $9 billion each, not counting R&D of $5 billion, and not counting the loss of lives to keep the oil lanes open. You have to start somewhere. And if this is a baby step towards oil independence I don't have a problem with it. If the charging stations prove popular they will slap credit card machines on the meters in no time.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 1:21 a.m.

a2citizen, your clipping of Mick52's quote drastically changed his point. Its more well to do folks who buy these cars and they should be able to afford to pay for there own "fill up"


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 1:11 a.m.

"...What sticks in my craw is that electric vehicles are so expensive, only the very well off can afford them..." All new technology is initially expense. Think laptops, cell phones, plasma TVs, CD players, microwave ovens. The list goes on and on.


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 11:13 p.m.

We paid for Solyndra and other green energy companies. Why not this? In the big scheme of things a few million dollars is no big deal to taxpayers. This is for the good of the planet and our health. I would like to see Ann Arbor pass an energy tax and really put their money where their mouth is and pay for the power consumed by anyone who can afford one of these electric cars. It's the least we can do for them since they are trailblazers. The coal industry will soon be on it's kness and rates will skyrocket just like our President said. This is just another step toward independence form fossil fuels. People who are against this aren't looking at the big picture and the long term. Four more years for the President and we should be there..............


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 1:35 a.m.

@tdw - NO! Sometimes I get into a cynical mood and pretend I'm a liberal..................


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 12:12 a.m.

Mike...can you name one " green energy " company that was not ultimately a waste of money ?

Ron Granger

Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 9:41 p.m.

I will be offering an adapter you can buy that allows you to charge your phone using one of these free charging stations.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 1:20 p.m.

Please add a charger where I can charge my cordless tools too.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 1:51 a.m.

I will be offering an adapter that allows you to run a camp stove, light, and coffee pot.

Linda Peck

Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 8:53 p.m.

I like it even if the taxpayers have to pay for it. We must start somewhere on the road to alternate fuel.


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 8:44 p.m.

Why should the city, and ultimately I, pay to charge your car? Do you pay for my gas?


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 1:05 p.m.

Why should I pay for your road? Why should I pay for your police that I do not use? Why should I pay for your mortgage interest deduction? Why should I pay for courts that I do not use? Why should I pay for anything because I do not like it? By the way, tax breaks are the EXACT same as subsidies in that they take money out of the general fund for operating the government


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 1:08 a.m.

Maybe not directly subsidized. But how much does it cost to park two aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf?


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 11:39 p.m.

No it's not Ron. Tax breaks for oil corporations are not subsidies. Many corporations get tax breaks oil companies or not. That is what I found out anyway when I search online for subsidies to oil companies. I found only tax breaks, not subsidies. If you have some documentation that the fed is actually giving money to oil companies, I would appreciate a link for my bookmarks on this. What Solyndra got was a subsidy. They got $535 million in the form of a guaranteed loan. I suppose one could say a tax break is a subsidy, but to me a subsidy is being given money: "a grant or contribution of money. " Here is an article about oil company subsidies and as I noted, it speaks of tax credits, available to all industries. I am not happy about oil companies that report record profits getting breaks but I think it unfair to claim oil companies are subsidized as far as I can tell.

Ron Granger

Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 9:40 p.m.

Yes. Your gas is heavily subsidized by taxpayers.


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 8:41 p.m.

What a great way to support electric cars in the city. Nice going CEC, DDA, and DOE.