These 6 projects will build out NW Michigan’s clean energy and electric boating infrastructure

What’s happening: Six companies have been announced recipients of what the state promises to be just the first in a wave of maritime grants, part of Michigan’s Fresh Coast Maritime Challenge first announced this past April. The ongoing challenge and resulting grants are part of the state’s larger efforts to establish Michigan’s Fresh Coast Corridor, a concerted effort to build support infrastructure for clean-fueled and electric marine vessels along state waterways.

Diving in: This first wave of grants focused on projects in the lower peninsula’s northwest region, from Frankfort to Mackinac Island. Six companies received a total of $506,000 in grant funding. They include Arc, a California-based electric boat manufacturer that will conduct electric boat demonstrations and explore future growth opportunities in Michigan ($20,000); Aqua superPower, who will install fast marine chargers at marinas in Charlevoix, Harbor Springs, and Traverse City ($111,000); Hercules Electric Mobility, who will develop and deploy boats with high-power electric powertrains in the region ($75,000); Lilypad Labs, a Michigan-based startup that will deploy solar-powered watercraft for public use at Michigan marinas and resorts ($135,000); Michigan Technological University, who will study charging station infrastructure and what’s needed ($50,000); and Voltaic Marine, Inc., who will study and develop strategies for growing advanced manufacturing, emerging technology job creation, and more in Michigan ($115,000).

Why it’s important: “The six projects funded through the first-of-its-kind Fresh Coast Maritime Challenge will not only showcase the Grand Traverse region as the epicenter for the new electric and sustainable boating industry, but further develop our Blue Economy and contribute to more significant economic growth,” says Warren Call, president and CEO of Traverse Connect. “We look forward to supporting the work of the awarded organizations and helping them expand their operations in the region.”

Demo Day: For those interested, a demonstration of electric boat technologies is scheduled on Thursday, Aug. 24, at Elk Rapids Marina. Event information and registration is available online.

Visit Michigan’s online mobility hub to keep up with the latest on the Fresh Coast Maritime Challenge and future opportunities for grants and more.

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