Mapping Detroit: EV charging stations across the city tell an interesting story

This is part of a series from the unofficial cartographer of Detroit, Alex B. Hill, a self-described “data nerd and anthropologist” who combines mapping, data, and analytics with storytelling and human experience. He is the founder of DETROITography and author of “Detroit in 50 Maps."
The expansion of electric vehicles (EV) and options to charge them has really grown across the nation in recent years. If you wanted to, you could roadtrip around all the Great Lakes in your EV with the now standard 200 mile range in most models. The GM retrofit of the Detroit-Hamtramck plant into Factory ZERO (their first fully dedicated EV assemble plant) is indication enough that EVs are here to stay. 

The City of Detroit is currently exploring EV charging stations at many of the recreation centers as well as nine city-owned parking lots. Up to 40 curbside locations are also being considered.

However, Detroit infrastructure has a long way to go to make EVs a viable option for all residents. Low-income and communities of color are extremely underserved by EV charging stations. In the city residents have to live in the 7.2 square miles of greater downtown area to find charging stations.

But charging stations are just one part of the equation. The other is the city's outdated electric grid. In the same areas of Detroit lacking EV charging stations, the electrical infrastructure is often a decade past its life expectancy and could have just 16% the hosting capacity, compared to areas that have been modernized in the downtown. Beyond EV charging, unreliable infrastructure limits low-income communities from taking advantage of home solar to reduce costs of heating and cooling as well.

Residents can let the city know their thoughts on locations of new EV charging stations here.

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Read more articles by Alex B. Hill.