Racine EV charging station; part of 'Lake Michigan Circuit Tour'

Racine has a new, solar-powered electric vehicle charging station that is now part of what will eventually become the "Lake Michigan Circuit Tour."

The "Circuit Tour" is a spin-off of the popular "Lake Michigan Circle Tour" – an 1,100-mile route that guides motorists through Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois. For years, it has been a treasured route around the Great Lake. Now, Wisconsin officials are joining a partnership with the other states involved – to electrify the route. This would make it possible for owners of electric vehicles (EVs) to traverse the entire route without having "range anxiety."

"This will future-proof Wisconsin tourism and create many more opportunities for our communities, our workforce, our residents and our visitors alike," said Kathy Blumenfeld, Department of Administration Secretary-designee. "The goal is to build enough chargers along locations along the route to support EV travel based on the number of annual tourists using the network.

Electric vehicle (EV) charging station in Racine

The solar-powered charging station revealed on Tuesday, Aug. 2 is just one of what will eventually be dozens of access points that will make the EV tour possible. The goal is to ease the adoption of EVs – by creating new charging stations connecting with existing ones.

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"Along the 360-mile route there are only two sections greater than 50 miles between chargers that are lacking a universal DC fast charger and no sections greater than 20 miles between level 2 chargers," said Craig Thompson, WisDOT Secretary. "It’s important that charging stations be located every 50 miles or so along the route and that they’re located close to the highway."

Electric vehicle (EV) charging station in Racine

Officials say the charging points will be in key coastal communities where there are tourist attractions, state parks, golf courses, restaurants, and small businesses. Each charging station will be near amenities – so owners of EVs will have something to do or some place to visit while their vehicle charges. The goal – to make money and attract more tourists. 

Electric vehicle (EV) charging station in Racine

"We are setting our sights of our clean energy future that will reduce pollution, improve our health, and boost our economy all while ensuring the resilience for the future of our great state," Blumenfeld said.

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The Wisconsin portion of the "Lake Michigan Circuit Tour" covers about 350 miles. In that stretch, Wisconsin already has more than 130 available chargers. 

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said it will take a few years to complete the "circuit" with charging stations.